Change of venue ordered – parents’ murder trial to move in search of fair jury

“St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough had been confident a jury could be seated to hear the murder trial of Anthony and Marsha Springer despite extensive media coverage of the case,” reports the Kalamazoo Gazette.

“But Wednesday, after two days of jury selection proceedings failed to seat a panel, Circuit Judge Paul Stutesman granted a defense motion to move the trial to another venue. Stutesman made his ruling after a pool of 41 prospective jurors was whittled to 11 by 3 p.m.

“‘It just goes stronger to the argument that this county is too close to this case … for it to be fair and impartial to try the case at this point,” Stutesman said.

“The Springers are charged with felony murder, torture and first-degree child abuse in the Feb. 27, 2008, death of their daughter, Calista Springer. Calista, 16, was chained to her bed when she died in a fire that destroyed the Centreville house she shared with the Springers and her two younger sisters.”


BPW threatens suit against former attorney

The Traverse City Record Eagle is reporting, “Former Grand Traverse County attorney Michael Houlihan faces a lawsuit if he doesn’t turn over the county’s legal files ‘at a reasonable cost.’

“The county Board of Public Works authorized its attorney to sue Houlihan, who resigned the post this year, if he can’t negotiate a low, reasonable cost for files he accumulated in 32 years as a county-contracted attorney.

“Houlihan’s lawyer, Stephen Turner, notified the public works board that Houlihan spent 163 hours collecting, reviewing and organizing tens of thousands of documents related to the county’s troubled septage treatment plant.”

Kilpatrick got cash, loans from business leaders

“Several of Detroit’s highest-powered businessmen have been supporting disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his family with cash and loans since his felony plea in the text message scandal,” reports the Detroit Free Press.

“The revelations came today in Wayne County Circuit Court, where prosecutors sought to prove Kilpatrick in violation of his probation for not being forthright about his ability to pay $1 million in restitution to the city.”

Prosecutors seek maximum jail time for Synagro player

“Detroit businessman Rayford W. Jackson should be given the maximum five-year sentence for his role in the Synagro bribery scandal at City Hall, prosecutors said Thursday,” according to The Detroit News.

“Jackson’s attorney, Richard H. Morgan Jr. of Pontiac, said he will ask for an 18-month sentence when his client is sentenced Nov. 13.

“Jackson pleaded guilty in June to paying more than $6,000 in bribes to former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers in 2007. The payments were to secure her vote — which proved to be the tie-breaker — to approve a $1.2 billion sewage sludge contract with Synagro Technologies Inc. of Houston. Jackson was the local partner on the deal.”

MSU profs offer same-sex marriage solution

“A pair of law professors at Michigan State University have launched an effort to legitimize the use of long-distance “proxy marriage” as a way for same-sex couples in states which prohibit gay marriage to legally wed,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

“The professors, Mae Kuykendall and Adam Candeub, said in an announcement released (Wednesday) that the ceremonies, in which an official in a state which permits same-sex unions performs a ceremony for residents of another state using remote connection technology, builds on a tradition of proxy marriage long used to wed overseas service members with a homebound spouse.

“Although such a marriage would not be recognized in a state like Michigan, which sanctions marriage only between one man and one woman, Kuykendall and Candeub said such ceremonies ‘could… help committed couples retain their spousal rights.'”

Judge refuses to jail woman, slams state for neglect in mom’s death

“A furious Oakland County judge blasted the Michigan Department of Human Services (Wednesday morning) for failing to help a Southfield woman take care of her bedridden mother, a woman who eventually died of bedsores and neglect,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

“The daughter, Stephanie Cooper, eventually pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter, and faced up to five years in prison when she appeared for sentencing before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Nanci Grant …”

State justices hear arguments on parental waivers

“A rare visit by Michigan’s Supreme Court to hear attorneys argue over parental waivers of liability for children drew about 200 curious lawyers and students Wednesday to the Thomas M. Cooley Law School campus,” according to a story in The Detroit News.

“The seven judges normally only hear oral arguments at the Hall of Justice in Lansing, but chose the campus as part of its infrequent “road trip,” Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly told the group. It is only the fifth such ‘off-site’ hearing.”

Kilpatrick fires back at Stefani with suit

The Detroit Free Press is reporting, “Kwame Kilpatrick and lawyer Mike Stefani are in another multimillion dollar tangle — this time with the ex-Detroit mayor suing the lawyer Wednesday whose efforts in a police whistle-blower case set the stage for his political demise.”

“Kilpatrick sued Stefani in Wayne County Circuit Court, citing Stefani’s recent testimony that he gave copies of incriminating text messages to the Free Press for ‘safekeeping.'”