MSC adopts new foster care court rule

The Michigan Supreme Court has adopted MCR 3.616 to implement the judicial action requirements of 2011 PA 225, the Young Adult Voluntary Foster Care Act, MCL 400.641 et seq.

Yesterday’s adoption of the new court rule makes the Department of Human Services eligible for federal funding of its new continuing voluntary foster care program for youth.

Both the new court rule and the DHS program take effect April 1. The Court has opened a comment period for the new rule, which will allow the Court to consider amending the rule based on comments received.

Comments on these proposals may be sent to the Supreme Court Clerk in writing or electronically by May 1, 2012, at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, MI 48909, or MSC_clerk@courts.mi.gov. Refer to ADM File No. 2012-05.

In other orders released yesterday, the Court:

  • amended MCR 6.005 to clarify that trial counsel is required to make a defendant’s file available to an appellate lawyer, and is required to retain the file for at least five years after disposition of the case in the trial court. This file was prompted by reports of appellate counsel having difficulty obtaining trial materials (especially video or audio materials that were not transcribed as part of the transcript). The five-year period mirrors the five-year retention period contained in MRPC 1.15(b)(2).
  • amended MCR 3.211 to eliminate the requirement that the Supreme Court approve changes to the Uniform Support Order forms. Without explicit approval required by the Supreme Court, the forms will be updated like other forms that are revised on a regular basis within the State Court Administrative Office.
  • proposed amendments to MCR 5.801, 7.102, 7.103, 7.108 and 7.109. The proposed changes would require that all probate court appeals be heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals instead of some orders being appealed to the Court of Appeals and other orders being appealed to the circuit court. The amendments are backed by the State Bar of Michigan Probate and Estate Planning Section in conjunction with the Michigan Judges Association, Michigan Probate Judges Association, and the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Court is accepting comments on the proposed changes. Send comments to the Supreme Court Clerk in writing or electronically by May 1, 2012, at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, MI 48909, or MSC_clerk@courts.mi.gov. Refer to ADM File No. 2011-30.
  • appointed Denise M. Kizy to the Court Reporting and Recording Board of Review for the unexpired portion of a term ending on March 31, 2013.

MSC seeks comment on proposed MCR amendments

Between now and the end of the year, the Michigan Suypreme Court is seeking comments on proposed amendments to the Michigan Court Rules.

A proposed amendment of MCR 3.211, ADM File No. 2004-55, according to a staff comment, “would eliminate the requirement that the Supreme Court approve changes to the Uniform Support Order forms. Without explicit approval required by the Supreme Court, the forms would be updated like other forms that are revised on a regular basis within the State Court Administrative Office.”

A proposed change to MCR 6.005, ADM File No. 1010-15, would impose a five-year record-retention requirement on criminal defense counsel.

From the staff comment: “This proposed amendment would clarify that trial counsel is required to make a defendant’s file available to an appellate lawyer, and would be required to retain the file for at least five years.

“This file was prompted by reports of appellate counsel having difficulty obtaining trial materials (especially video or audio materials that were not transcribed as part of the transcript). The five-year period mirrors the five-year retention period contained in MRPC 1.15(b)(2).”

Trial judges taking pleas in criminal cases would have to advise defendants about the possible consequences of prior felonies under a proposed amendment of MCR 6.302, ADM File No. 2010-02.

“This proposed amendment of MCR 6.302 would reinsert a requirement that a court advise a defendant who pleads guilty that the defendant’s maximum possible prison sentence may be longer than the maximum possible prison sentence for a particular offense if the defendant falls within the parameters of the habitual offender statute (MCL 769.13).

The statute allows a prosecutor to notify the defendant that the prosecutor intends to seek an enhanced sentence after the defendant pleads guilty. Thus, the sentence range given by the court may not take into account any sentence enhancement at the plea hearing.”

Comments on the proposals may be sent to the Supreme Court Clerk in writing or electronically by Jan. 1, 2012, at P.O. Box 30052, Lansing, MI 48909, or MSC_clerk@courts.mi.gov. When filing a comment, please refer to the appropriate ADM file number.