Catholic lawyers to celebrate parochial education

Livonia attorney Mike Butler wants you to know about the Catholic School Alumni Lawyer Heritage Dinner at Catholic Central High School in Novi on Nov. 15.

Butler explains:

It is an event to celebrate the common background of parochial education shared by many lawyers. It will also be an event to start a larger project of seeking out and preserving the history and heritage of the many closed Catholic Schools in the Detroit area.

Featured speakers are U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts and Tom Rashid, former head of the Detroit Catholic High School League.

The event is being presented by the Bishop Michael J. Gallagher Dinner LLC, a non-profit organization of lawyers.

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MBJ announces short story winners

Kudos to Eli D. Greenbaum, the first-place winner of the Michigan Bar Journal‘s third annual short story contest.

Greenbaum’s winning entry, Leo’s Dilemna, is a clever tale about how an elderly Holocaust survivor resolves a self-created estate-planning problem.

Other winners include:

The MBJ received 43 entries and selected 19 winners and finalists.

They’re good reads — all of them.

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.