Michigan SCT Rules Former Tribal Official who Committed Crime in Office Eligible to Run for State Office

Here is the opinion in Paquin v. City of St. Ignace:

michigan-sct-opinion.pdf

And the lone brief I was able to unearth:

ag-brief.pdf

Lower court decision here.

Mr. Paquin’s indictment here.

Consent to Termination of Parental Rights Decision in Michigan Supreme Court

Opinion here

The ICWA Appellate Clinic co-represented the tribe in this case.

This case involves a complicated question of state statute interpretation regarding a voluntary consent to a termination of parental right in the face of a state termination petition. In this case, the dad consented to termination before the termination hearing. The children were later placed in a tribal-approved foster placement, and the dad withdrew his consent to termination. The question was whether dad could do that under Michigan statute.

None of the protections in MCL 712B.15, [mirroring ICWA’s main protections in an involuntary proceeding] which are designed for contested and adversarial proceedings, remains relevant once a parent voluntarily releases his or her rights under MCL 712B.13. When the court accepted Williams’s release, and the proceedings went from adversarial to cooperative, the protections of MCL 712B.15 did not apply.

However, the Court also held,

That is, Williams may withdraw his consent, but because he is still subject to MCL 712B.15, DHHS may refile a termination petition. MCL 712B.15. And, under MCL 712B.13(3), a parent who consents during an involuntary termination proceeding is not entitled to “the return of the Indian child” to him or her.

Instead, the child returns to the position the child was in before his or her parent consented to the termination of parental rights. Williams’s children were in foster care when he consented to the termination of his parental rights, his children will remain in foster care, and Williams will be once again subject to the procedures and protections of MCL 712B.15. DHHS may proceed with its termination case if it chooses, and if DHHS can satisfy the heightened requirements of MCL 712B.15, Williams’s parental rights can be terminated.

Briefing on the case is here.

Briefing Completed in Michigan Indian Family Preservation Act Case

At the Michigan Supreme Court:

Order Granting Review

Appellant (Father)’s Brief

Appellee (Macomb County/State)’s Brief

Sault Tribe Amicus Brief (MSU Indian Law Clinic, ICWA Appellate Project co-wrote this brief)

American Indian Law Section_AmicusBrief

Appellant Reply

Oral Argument Scheduling Order

State of Michigan Celebrates Reunification Day

Link to news coverage here.

The Michigan Supreme Court ceremonially praised the efforts of family court participants, including Tribal leaders, for restoring children to their families on June 24, 2016, in Lansing.  Five judges from Michigan’s Tribal State Federal Judicial Forum were present.  According to the article, more than half of foster care children were returned to their families in 2015.

Briefs in Star Tickets v. Chumash Casino Resort

Materials and documents for the leave to appeal in Michigan’s Supreme Court:

Defendant/Appellant’s Application for Leave to Appeal

Plaintiff-Appellee’s Brief in Opposition to Application for Leave to Appeal

Defendant/Appellant’s Brief In Reply To Opposition

Amicus brief in support of petition from State Bar’s American Indian Law Section

Our motion for leave to file and our lodged amicus brief in support of petition

Washtenaw Circuit Judge Tim Connors Honored with Judicial Excellence Award

Here:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI, October 28, 2015 – The Michigan Judges Association has announced that Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge Timothy P. Connors is the 2015 winner of the Hilda Gage Judicial Excellence Award. Judge Connors has served on the bench since 1991, serving as chief judge for more than a decade, and also serving by appointment as Judge Pro Tem for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.

“Judge Connors has led groundbreaking efforts to strengthen the juvenile court in Washtenaw County and he has been an instrumental collaborator in developing strong state-tribal court relations,” said Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack. “Because of his efforts, Washtenaw’s juvenile court system looks dramatically different in the six short months he has presided over this docket.”

“His impact on child welfare cases transcends the systemic reform efforts he has undertaken,” Justice McCormack said. “On each individual case, he carefully listens to each family’s story. According to the lawyers who regularly appear before him, no matter the result in the particular hearing or case, the parties all leave feeling that they have been heard. The community’s respect for the juvenile court has grown because of his approach.”

This award is named after the late Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Hilda Gage and recognizes Circuit and Court of Appeals judges who have excelled in trial and docket management, legal scholarship, and contributions to the profession and the community. The award honors current or former judges who serve their profession and their communities with integrity, skill, and courage every day.

A biography of Judge Connors is available here.