Three MCR amendments take effect 1/1/12

Michigan Court Rules dealing with jurors, personal protection orders and appointed counsel in child protective proceedings have been amended effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Here’s what you need to know, as explained by the staff comment accompanying the rule changes. As always, “The staff comment is not an authoritative construction by the Court.”

  • Amendment of MCR 2.511 – Impaneling the Jury
    Staff Comment: Because MCL 600.1337 requires a court to discharge an unqualified juror regardless whether a party challenges the juror for cause, the amendment of MCR 2.511 clarifies that the discharge must be made when the court learns that the juror is not qualified to serve.
    Issued: 10/06/11
    Effective: 1/01/12
    ADM File No. 2010-11
  • Amendment of MCR 3.707 – Modification, Termination, or Extension of Personal Protection Orders
    Staff Comment: The amendment of MCR 3.707 clarifies that the right to bring a motion to modify or terminate a personal protection order within 14 days after the order enters applies to ex parte PPOs only, not those orders that enter following a full hearing. In addition, for a respondent to file a motion to modify or terminate a PPO more than 14 days after its issuance, this amendment requires the respondent to show good cause.
    Issued: 10/06/11
    Effective: 1/01/12
    ADM File No. 2010-17
  • Amendment of MCR 3.915 – Appointed Counsel in Child Protective Proceedings
    Staff Comment: The amendment of MCR 3.915 clarifies that counsel should be appointed for a parent even at the preliminary hearing of a child protective proceeding.
    Issued: 10/06/11
    Effective: 1/01/12
    ADM File No. 2011-04
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Unintended consequences? PPO cases jamming court dockets

The Detroit Free Press reports that in the 15 years since the Legislature created personal protection orders as a tool against domestic violence, PPOs are increasing coming into play in relatively frivolous disputes.

From the Freep:

A rift between two neighbors over grass clippings, a potty-mouthed text messenger sending notes to a woman he barely knows and a squabble that began four years ago with an empty pizza box — all seemingly bad behavior by people who, it could be argued, should just learn to get along.

Instead, those are among thousands of personal protection order cases clogging Michigan courts each year. …

Oakland County Circuit Judge Cheryl Matthews, who prosecuted domestic violence cases for many years before taking a seat on the family court bench, said such unwarranted PPO requests can be dangerous.

“These cases dilute the seriousness of situations where a PPO is very much warranted,” she said.

More from The Detroit Free Press.