Loomis, Ewert mourns passing of Quentin A. Ewert, 95

Quentin A. Ewert, one of the earliest members of Lansing law firm Loomis, Ewert, Parsley, Davis and Gotting, P.C., has died.

He was 95.

Ewert joined the firm in 1955. He retired from full-time practice in 1987. The firm will be closed the afternoon of Thursday, March 24, in his memory.

Memorial services will be held Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 3 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 201 E. Jefferson St., Grand Ledge, Mich.

New Detroit crime lab proposed

There’s a general consensus that a new state-run crime lab in Detroit is needed to help the state’s other labs that were swamped with cases when the infamously inadequate Detroit police crime lab closed in 2008.

Now, a proposal to create a new lab, possibly in space shared with the city of Detroit, is being given serious consideration, according to a Senate Fiscal Agency report.

The SFA report says state funding for seven existing state police labs dealing with the extra cases is up 60 percent, to $34.5 million, in the last two years. But the case backlog continues to rise. And it’s an enormous problem.

[T]he overall caseload backlog actually has increased from 5,147 in 2007 to the current level of 12,300. Plus this figure does not include 10,500 rape evidence kits never analyzed by the Detroit Lab and the subject of a sample analysis and subsequent study by Michigan State University.

The report says existing labs can’t be expanded to house more personnel and equipment. The solution:

a new State-run lab, large enough and with enough personnel and equipment to handle area caseloads, should be created within the City of Detroit.

Current fiscal constraints on State and local finances make this a difficult goal to achieve. … [T]he most likely option is the recent action by the Detroit City Council approving the purchase and renovation of the 400,000 square-foot former MGM Grand Detroit casino building for use as the new headquarters for the Detroit Police and Fire Departments.

The proposal calls for the building also to be used to house a State crime lab run by the Michigan State Police.

The state and the city are engaged in “ongoing” negotiations to hash out the details.

Lansing legal community mourns Stuart Dunnings Jr.

“He was one hell of an attorney. He was good, tremendous! He would win cases that were unbelievable that you never thought he would win.”

That’s how Rudy Wilson remembers Lansing legal icon Stuart Dunnings Jr., who died Wednesday. He was 58.

Wilson, Dunning’s good friend of more than 50 years, was reminiscing for WLNS-TV reporter Alison Himelhoch’s post on the station’s Web site.

Dunnings Jr. had a long and distinguished career as a forceful advocate and a champion of civil rights.

He was Lansing’s first black lawyer, reports The Lansing State Journal.

Dunnings was the father of Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III. From The Lansing State Journal:

Stuart Dunnings III credits his father’s good name with helping to win him election to the prosecutor’s office in 1996.

“People think I’m Stuart Dunnings,” Dunnings III said. “The real Stuart Dunnings is my dad.”

Dunnings III noted that his father set high standards and that not meeting those standards was not an option. He said he realized early on that: “I was the son of a great man whose greatness I would never achieve,” Dunnings III said. “I’m just proud to have been his son.”

Services for Stuart Dunnings Jr. are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lansing. Riley Funeral Home in Lansing is handling the arrangements.

Obituary: Eaton County Judge Michael Skinner

Judge Michael SkinnerEaton County Probate Judge Michael Skinner has died after a 10-year fight with cancer, reports The Lansing State Journal. He was 58.

Skinner was elected to the bench in 2000 and learned he had cancer the same year.

“He had to deal with that every single day he was a judge,” said Tom Eveland, chief judge for the Eaton County circuit and probate courts.

“In spite of that, he took on a lot of work that had not been done by the probate court before,” such as handling most of the county’s juvenile cases.

Skinner sat by assignment in the Eaton Circuit’s family division.

Skinner was a board member of Child & Family Services, Inc. He was an adjunct professor at the Michigan State University Law School.

Skinner was also a former president of the Southwest Michigan Probate Judges Association.

A funeral service will be held Saturday, Feb 27 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Lansing. The Tiffany Funeral Home, Lansing, is handing the arrangements.

Take me out to the law game

Cooley Law School StadiumThe Cooley Law School Stadium is the new home-field name for the Lansing Lugnuts, the capital’s Class “A” minor-league baseball affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The ubiquitous law school, the nation’s largest with 3,600 students on four campuses in Michigan, bought the naming rights for the ball park in an 11-year, $1,485,000 sponsorship deal announced yesterday.

Naming rights for the field, formerly known as Oldsmobile Park, went on the market when General Motors gave up its sponsorship during the automaker’s bankruptcy reorganization last year.

The ball club and the city of Lansing will evenly split the revenue from Cooley’s sponsorship.

Read MiLW online

We have a nifty new thing for subscribers: you can now read MiLW online.

The online interface for MiLW’s digital edition is powered by PageTurnPro. It’s intuitive, easy to use and responds quickly.

Whether you’re a geek or an old-schooler, you’ll get a kick from an optional effect that provides the sound of rustling paper as you electronically flip the pages.

And, there’s a nice drop-shadow effect that gives the page images a 3-D feel.

There’s a handy search function as well.

If you’re not a subscriber and you want in on the action, we can fix you right up here.

Former MILW publisher Dan Sharp dies

Daniel S. Sharp, Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s founding publisher, has died. He was 57.

Dan’s sheer will and capable guidance nursed MiLW from its infancy in 1986 and through the paper’s growing years.

He left in 1994 to start a private practice in Marblehead, MA with his wife and law partner, Elaine Whitfield Sharp.

It was my distinct pleasure and privilege to work with Dan; to share with him the thrill of our first issue rolling off the press.

Dan had exacting standards for MiLW.

Early on, we had a bad week in terms of typos in the paper. The next issue featured a publisher’s note from Dan, complete with a photo of him with a bag over his head, as he apologized profusely for the lapse in quality and made a heartfelt promise to do better.

Dan was a first-class colleague and a mentor without peer. He provided me with good counsel, professionally and personally.

He will be missed.

Dan’s funeral service will be held at the Old North Church in Marblehead on Friday, Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. Arrangements are being handled by the Eustis and Cornell Funeral Home, Marblehead.

The Swampscott Reporter has Dan’s full obituary.

Canton hires new township attorney

From the Canton Observer:

Audrey Robinson, former manager of state government affairs for Reed Elsevier Inc. started her $88,000-a-year job Monday as Canton’s manager of legal services and contract administration — a post created in October by township officials.

A Michigan native who has traveled the country as a state lobbyist for a major publisher of science, medical and legal information has returned home and started her new job as Canton’s newest manager-level employee.

Holiday schedule for MSC, COA and admin office

The state’s appellate courts and the court administrative office have announced their holiday closings.

The Michigan Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) will be closed for the holidays on Thursday, December 24; Friday, December 25; Thursday, December 31; and Friday, January 1.

The Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and SCAO will be open on Monday, December 28; Tuesday, December 29; and Wednesday, December 30.

Judge mulls release of Ambassador Bridge safety report

Rep. John Dingell thinks the public should see the maintenance report of the privately owned Ambassador Bridge, putting him at odds with the bridge’s owners, reports The Detroit News.

But Dingell is withholding release of the 2007 report he received last week pending a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Patrick J. Duggan.

From The News:

The Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns the bridge that is the busiest international crossing between the United States and Canada, filed a lawsuit Sept. 25 to prevent the release of the report, citing security and proprietary business reasons. …

Dan Stamper, president of the DIBC, said Friday he’s open to releasing a shorter safety report for the public in the next two weeks if his attorneys don’t see any liability concerns.

“The bottom line is the bridge is safe,” Stamper said. “We do a thorough, annual inspection of the bridge. In fact, our inspection is so thorough that that is why we are concerned about it being released.

“It has information on the vulnerabilities of the bridge structure that could be used by terrorists to figure out where the best place to attack the bridge would be.”