COA Judge Jane Markey: MSC wannabe?

Jane E. Markey

Court of Appeals Judge Jane E. Markey

The stage may be set for Jane E. Markey, a Grand Rapids-based Michigan Court of Appeals judge, to seek one of the two Republican Party slots for the Michigan Supreme Court election in November.

Markey, according to The Grand Rapids Press, is interested in the nomination. Normally, MSC incumbents get their party’s nod but things are little different this time around for the GOP.

The GOP undoubtedly will nominate MSC Justice Robert P. Young Jr. to run for re-election. But Republican backing for Justice Elizabeth A. Weaver, who is also up for re-election, is far less certain.

She’s repeatedly broken ranks with Young and the other GOP-sponsored justices currently on the Court, Maura D. Corrigan and Stephen J. Markman.

In fact, Young doesn’t even want her on the ticket. He drew a line in the sand last January when he said, “They can nominate her, or they can nominate me,” referring to Republican convention delegates and Weaver, respectively.

The final straw may have been last week’s explosive public administrative hearing at the Michigan Supreme Court.

Corrigan, Young and Markman revealed that they asked the Judicial Tenure Commission to investigate Weaver for allegedly revealing internal deliberations about a case. The three say that Weaver violated Administrative Order No. 2006-8:

Deliberative Privilege and Case Discussions in the Supreme Court

The following administrative order, supplemental to the provisions of Administrative Order No. 1997-10, is effective immediately.

All correspondence, memoranda and discussions regarding cases or controversies are confidential. This obligation to honor confidentiality does not expire when a case is decided. The only exception to this obligation is that a Justice may disclose any unethical, improper or criminal conduct to the JTC or proper authority.

[Effective December 6, 2006]

Weaver says the order was never properly adopted and tried, without success, to get it rescinded at last week’s conference.

All of this bodes well for Markey and others who want a shot at a presumably open GOP top court slot.

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In their opinions

[T]he concepts of habitually and regularity are antithetical to the circumstances of homelessness. If there is anything “habitual” to the sleeping arrangements of the homeless, it is that it is customary for them not to have the security of a customary place of lodging. If there is anything “regular” about the place where a homeless person lives, it is that it is not within a home.

– The Michigan Court of Appeals, explaining to the Ingham County prosecutor’s office why a homeless defendant can’t be charged with failing to comply with the Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA), MCL 28.721 et seq.

It seems fairly straightforward. SORA requires sex offenders to register their residential addresses, which are then published on a public Web site so you can see if one of them lives in your neighborhood.

In People v. Dowdy (On Remand) (published per curiam), Court of Appeals Judges Jane M. Beckering, Jane E. Markey and Stephen L. Borrello observed

The plain language of the statute employed by the Legislature here says the term “residence” refers to a place, a dwelling, an abode, where an individual has a “regular place of lodging.”

A “lodging” is defined to be “[a] place to live,” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1996), or “accommodations in a house, esp. in rooms for rent,”’ Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (1997).

The provisional location where a homeless person happens to spend the night does not fall within the ambit of these definitions.

A homeless person is not provided an accommodation by another as a place to habitually sleep or store personal items.

SORA is a “wise” idea, said the panel.

But the Legislature simply did not make provisions for convicted sex offenders to register an address when they don’t have one, and there’s no way to torture the statute to make it say otherwise.