Ex-Detroit deputy mayor Green back at Miller Canfield

Apparently, Saul Green’s 2012 resolution is to go back into the law firm setting.

The former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and ex-deputy mayor of the city of Detroit has announced he’ll be serving of counsel in the Litigation and Trial Group at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C.

Up until June 2011, Green was Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s deputy mayor and executive over public safety (he was appointed in 2008 by then-Mayor Kenneth Cockrel).

He has a wide history of Detroit- and Wayne County-related involvement, having served as the county’s corporation counsel; chief counsel of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at the Detroit Field Office; and assistant U.S. attorney.

In 2007, Green, along with fellow Miller Canfield partner Thomas Cranmer, was named one of Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s “Lawyers of the Year.”

Collins new Wayne County deputy executive

Former U.S. attorney and Wayne County judge Jeffrey G. Collins has been appointed as the new Wayne County deputy executive, to replace Azzam E. Elder, who resigned Thursday.

Scandal has shaken the county’s leadership since it was reported that former Chief Development Officer Turkia Mullin received a $200,000 severance payment after voluntarily leaving to run Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Collins was a Wayne County Circuit Judge who ran as a Republican for a seat on the Michigan Supreme Court in 1998. He lost to current Justice Michael F. Cavanagh.

Mullin fired, vows lawsuit

Embattled Detroit Metropolitan Airport executive Turkia Mullin has been fired by the Wayne County Airport Authority Board. [The News Herald].

In a statement, she said she was “uniquely qualfied” to run the airport and was wrongfully terminated. She’s hired Bloomfield Hills attorney (and 2010 Leader in the Law) Raymond Sterling to pursue her legal remedies.

FBI to investigate Wayne County over severance packages

Reenactment of FBI entering Wayne County offices. Only not really.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Three teams of FBI agents entered Wayne County government offices in Detroit this afternoon to serve subpoenas for county records.

The agents’ presence comes as County Executive Robert Ficano has retained prominent criminal defense lawyer Steve Fishman to represent him in the FBI probe into a $200,000 severance paid to former county economic development director Turkia Awada Mullin.

County Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak, D-Dearborn, said he was told in an administration briefing that the teams of FBI agents gave the county several weeks to respond, by sometime in mid-November, he said.

“I’m glad they’re here and if they find criminal action then we can deal with that and then move forward and get on with the business of county government,” said Woronchak. “I think nothing else but full open and disclosure is in order to restore the people’s confidence in Wayne County government.”

I wonder if anyone is going to bother looking into getting a copy of that check from Mullin (alleged) returning the money.

Wayne Circuit e-filing coming in November

Wayne County has announced its court e-filing system will go live on November 7. The county’s system is going to be based on Oakland County’s successful e-filing system, which we wrote about in early September.

As with other counties that have recently rolled out or are about to roll out e-filing system, Wayne’s system will start out as mandatory only for certain types of cases before expanding to more generalized cases. At launch, only contract cases coded as “CK” will have to be filed electronically.

The clerk’s office will begin offering training “webinars” (internet-based seminars) for  for its new e-filing system later in October. Training sessions will be October 24-28 at 10-11:30 am and 3-4:30 pm, and October 31-November 4 at the same times. Attorneys and their support staffs are encouraged to participate in the webinars.

To register for a webinar, go to https://www.3rdcc.org/eFiling.aspx

If you have any questions about Wayne County’s e-filing system, call the clerk’s office at (313) 224-6496.

Whistleblower sues Wayne County

A former deputy chief of staff to Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett has filed a whistleblower suit against the county, alleging bribery within the office. [Detroit Free Press]

David Springsteen, 39, said Garrett and her top aides got rid of him after he met with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office to discuss his suspicions that clerks in his office were accepting bribes to expedite permit applications and approve licenses for convicted felons and others who were denied licenses.

According to the story, the FBI is investigating but has yet to find any proof of wrongdoing.

Garrett and other staffers named in the lawsuit didn’t respond to requests for comment. But Ronnie Cromer, an attorney for Garrett and her staff, said the clerk cooperated with investigators and did nothing wrong.

“In all my years of practice, I can’t recall a more baseless lawsuit,” Cromer said. “He will fail miserably.”

(Apparently, Cromer has adopted his interview style from Donald Trump.)

Springsteen told the Freep that learned of the problem when an applicant complained of not getting his CPL license “despite paying the expediting fee.” There is no expediting fee.

The case is in U.S. District Court before Judge Patrick Duggan.

SCOTUS hears Wayne County ‘Confrontation Clause’ Case

On Tuesday, the justices of the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in Michigan v Bryant, a Confrontation Clause case out of Wayne County.

The issue involved the police questioning a shooting victim at the scene about the identity and location of the shooter and whether the answers were “testimonial” in nature, and whether police officers can testify about what the victim said.

Only eight of the justices will decide the case. Newly-minted Justice Elena Kagen has recused herself because, as solicitor general, her office submitted an amicus brief supporting the prosecution. [Kagen will recuse herself from a number of cases this term, increasing the chances of ties and rehearings].

The case was argued by Wayne County assistant prosecutor Lori Baughman Palmer and State Appellate Defender’s Office attorney Peter Van Hoek. Transcript of the hearing can be found here. Briefs can be found here if you are so inclined.

Mary Beth Kelly criticized as her appointment set to expire

From the Metro Times, several Wayne County judges and departments are apparently displeased with the leadership of Chief Circuit Judge Mary Beth Kelly, whose appointment as Chief Judge expires at the year’s end.

Critics of Kelly — who came to the bench as an appointee of Republican Gov. John Engler in 1999 — sometimes characterize her policies as part of an effort by outstate conservatives to control leaders in the more liberal Detroit. They say some of her actions reflect the region’s longtime inability to come to terms with racial issues. She’s not making the correct, albeit difficult, decisions about how to effectively manage governmental operations with limited dollars, they say. And she should be stopped.

"I say Mary Beth Kelly has got to go," Detroit City Councilwoman Brenda Jones told one gathering held to "learn about the injustices taking place in our court system."

Defenders in the story call her fair-minded and say that her biggest problem is that she “came to power in an unusual way.