Teacher Says Suspension Should Be A Last Resort

Panelists Adra Young and Lisa Schmidt with Moderator Alicia Smith

Panelists Adra Young and Lisa Schmidt with Moderator Alicia Smith at the United Methodist Women’s Anti-Bullying Workshop on March 8, 2014

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting Detroit Public School teacher and advocate, Adra Young, at a panel discussion on Anti-Bullying. Her words were inspiring, but more than that, she demonstrated a level of commitment to her students that often seems missing in urban districts. In light of her passion, I wanted to take a moment to feature a recent article from her educational blog. Read the full post »

A Field Guide to Grassroots Anti-Bullying Advocacy

How to Stop Bullying in Your SchoolBullying has been a hot topic for years. In 2011, President Obama began a nationwide campaign to end bullying in schools. And yet, the issue is still in the news. Last November, Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin left the team because of the abusive environment. Whether in the schools, the locker rooms, or the workplace, harassment is a serious problem best addressed at the local level. Read the full post »

What Happens if My Roommate Lets the Police In?

Can Your Roommate Consent to a Police Search?It seems like everyone has a roommate these days. Whether it is a spouse, partner, friend, or just someone to help pay the rent, almost everyone shares their home with someone. So what happens if the police come to search your home? Can your roommate let them in over your objection? Read the full post »

Custody for LGBT Families is Complicated. Here’s Why.

Michigan Considers Marriage EqualityThe Michigan Marriage Equality trial started Tuesday in the United States District Court in Detroit. It is scheduled to continue for 8 days and is focusing so far on the ability and challenges for LGBT couples raising children. The Free Press summarized Wednesday’s testimony by University of Michigan law professor Vivek Sankaran, saying

“When a parent in a same-sex relationship dies, the surviving partner faces a quagmire of legal hurdles to gain custody of any kids.”

Here’s why.

Read the full post »

How Does the Judge Decide on a Sentence?

What Factors in to a Criminal Sentence?When you’re faced with criminal charges, most attorneys talk in terms of worst-case scenario. They refer to crimes according to their statutory maximum sentence. Sure, they may remind you that you could get something lower than that, but how can you know? Once you are found guilty, how can you predict what your sentence will be? Read the full post »

Michigan Marriage Equality Goes to Trial

Michigan Marriage Equality on TrialAfter months of preparation, DeBoer v. Snyder, the federal challenge to Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage and adoption is going to trial. Federal District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman has set aside 8 full days for testimony and arguments starting Tuesday, February 25, 2014. What can we expect over the next two weeks? And how will the court’s decision affect the rights of LGBT citizens of Michigan? Read the full post »

Could Virginia Pave the Way for Marriage Equality in Michigan?

Could Virginia Predict Michigan Marriage Equality?Virginia has rocketed into center stage for LGBT rights in 2014, and on February 13, it joined the swelling ranks of states where gay marriage bans have been ruled unconstitutional. Virginia’s laws are very similar to Michigan. So could the Virigina ruling give a glimpse of what is to come from the DeBoer v. Schuette trial, scheduled for February 25, 2014. Read the full post »

Confusion Abounds Around the Revocation of Paternity Act

Courts are confused about the Revocation of Paternity ActMichigan’s Revocation of Paternity Act (Revocation Act), which was passed in 2012, has reached the Court of Appeals, and the result has been a lot of judicial confusion and disagreement. The most recent appeals decision only added to the confusion with three separate opinions that gave no guidance to family law practitioners. Read the full post »

Cities Can’t Ban Michigan Medical Marijuana Use

City Ordinances Can't Prohibit Medical Marijuana UseThe Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that local governments cannot penalize what the state has protected under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. The case could have a broad impact across the state and could allow qualified patients to gain more protection under the statute. Read the full post »

Court Orders Sex-Change Operation for Trans Prisoner

file0001337619318A Federal Court of Appeals determined that sex reassignment surgery is medically necessary for one transgendered prisoner in Maryland. By denying it, the prison violated her 8th Amendment rights. This ruling could provide a legal leg up to trans inmates nationwide. But the court’s reliance on the terms “disorder” and “medical necessity” could rub some advocates the wrong way. Read the full post »