High court: Governor wrongly revoked commutation
Written by DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 21:09
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned one of Jennifer Granholm's last acts as governor and gave an inmate an opportunity for release after 25 years in prison.

The court ruled 6-0 that Granholm exceeded her constitutional authority in 2010 when she first commuted the life sentence of Matthew Makowski, then changed her mind when relatives of a murder victim complained.

It's an unprecedented case in Michigan. Lower courts let Granholm's decision stand, but the Supreme Court said she went too far.

"The language of the (state) Constitution confers only the power to grant commutations. The fact that the Constitution specifically provides that the Governor may grant a commutation implies that the Governor's power is limited only to that ability," Justice Michael Cavanagh wrote for the majority.

Skillman pledges $3.5 million for Detroit retirees
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 21:08
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit-based Skillman Foundation is contributing $3.5 million to help offset health care cuts to city retirees.

Mediators in Detroit's bankruptcy made the announcement Tuesday.

The city no longer provides health insurance for some city retirees and has reduced benefits for others as part of its bankruptcy restructuring. The Skillman donation would help preserve health care benefits for families with children and grandchildren.

Michigan Senate approves $195 million for Detroit
Written by DAVID EGGERT, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 21:06
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's Senate approved on Tuesday spending $195 million to help prevent steeper cuts in Detroit retiree pensions as part of a deal designed to shield valuable city-owned art from being sold and resolve the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The Republican-led chamber voted 21-17 to contribute the state funds to join $466 million in commitments from 12 foundations and the Detroit Institute of Arts. The pool of money would shore up Detroit's two retirement systems while the city's art museum and its assets would be transferred to a private nonprofit.

A delighted Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said he will sign the legislation in a day or two after proofing the bills, which passed the GOP-controlled House about two weeks ago.

"This is a good solution. This is a way we can support one another and again make it Detroit, Michigan instead of Detroit vs. Michigan," he said after the Senate vote.

Michigan high court: 'One-parent' rule infringes
Written by JEFF KAROUB, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 21:07
DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional a doctrine that lets authorities remove children from their parents' custody if just one parent is deemed unfit.

The court's 5-2 decision on Monday found that the more than 70-year-old "one-parent doctrine" infringes on the due process rights of parents, overturning lower courts' rulings. The state must balance its "legitimate" and "crucial" interest in protecting children "with the fundamental rights of parents," the justices said.

The ruling stemmed from a case involving Lance Laird, a one-time Jackson County sheriff candidate.

Laird contested a court's decision to remove two sons from his home after he tested positive for cocaine. The court also denied his requests for a trial to determine whether he was fit to parent. The boys' mother, Tammy Sanders, admitted taking drugs with Laird and spent night at his home despite a court order that prohibited her from having unsupervised contact with children.

Body of Iowa teen found in southwest Michigan lake
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 21:06
BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. (AP) — Searchers have found the body of a 17-year-old Iowa boy in a lake in southwestern Michigan.

The Berrien County sheriff's department says that crews found the body of Tyler Albers about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Berrien Springs.

The department says it got a call Monday evening about two swimmers having trouble in Lake Chapin off of Grove Park.

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