Another view on Livingston County traffic ticket pleas

In a Dec. 15 post, “No bargains in Livingston County,” we told the tale of Oakland County attorney Arthur R. Kainz, who couldn’t get a “no-points” plea for his client on a traffic ticket.

Livingston County attorney Paul Decocq begs to differ with Kainz’s claim that there are no deals to be had in Howell’s 53rd District Court.

[C]ontrary to what Mr. Kainz says, I know that the prosecutor and the courts here are open to fair, reasonable and, yes, even accommodating, resolutions of traffic cases. In fact, it is the rule rather than the exception when the facts merit it.

Of course, someone driving 70 mph in a 25-mph zone or who treats a deputy with rudeness or disrespect at the traffic stop ought not expect a handout or a pat on the back from anyone (most of us are familiar with the old “honey versus vinegar” bromide).

A most interesting aspect, at least to me as an attorney, of Mr. Kainz’s letter is its complete lack of any description of what it was that his employee/client had done. Perhaps the fault in this situation lies with this apparently first-time attorney visitor to our county, or his client.

Full post at

UPDATE: Arthur Kainz replied in our comments:

Is it commonplace to be forced to deal with a legal intern and not a licensed attorney when dealing with the Prosecutor’s office?
Contrary to Paul Decocq’s comment, it is Dan Rose’s (Supervising Prosecutor) position that he does not allow pleas to avoid points; I spoke to Dan later that same day. The intern had also stated this.
It was further confirmed by another attorney who approached me after overhearing my discussions with the intern and the sheriff.
The fact that the court rescheduled the hearing twice without explanation, and the noticeable absence of a crowd of attorneys with clients, indicated to me that this is no ordinary District Court.
Arthur R. Kainz
Art Kainz

No bargains in Livingston County

From comes the tale of an Oakland County lawyer’s encounter with 53rd District Court in Howell, the county seat of Livingston County.

According to Arthur R. Kainz, it can’t be said that the prosecutor and the sheriff drive a hard bargain on speeding tickets.

They don’t bargain at all. Says Kainz:

After my experience in 53rd District Court, I’ll not set foot in Livingston County anytime soon.

You see, I went to the 53rd to represent one of our employees with a speeding ticket, on a pro bono basis; the employees pay me nothing (nor does our company), but make a donation in an amount of their choice to Feeding America, which feeds hungry fellow Americans.

My client is a wonderful 25-year-old wife and mother who lives in Livingston County. She has never had a ticket in her years of driving. She was willing to pay the traffic fine and plead guilty, albeit to a charge that would avoid “points,” those nasty things that make your car insurance premiums increase. This is a commonplace legal disposition in all the area counties, except in Livingston County.

Apparently, payment of a fine and plea of guilty are not enough punishment for the authorities in Livingston. No alternate plea would be accepted by your prosecutor’s office or Sheriff’s Department.

So, instead of this young woman making a donation to feed people, she will be spending that money and more, to enrich her insurance company.

Full post here.