ALL ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE WERE DRAFTED BY THEIR AUTHORS IN JULY 2023.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
BY kate weaver (oakland COUNTY)
I would like to thank all members who attended the annual RAM conference at The H Hotel in May of 2023. We had record-setting attendance with 82 Referees from all over the state participating. The conference received rave reviews in evaluations complimenting the hotel, speakers, food, and content. With a look toward future conferences, Referees hoped for new content, including more juvenile-specific content, and suggested various new locations.
We announced our conference location for RAM Conference 2024, at the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, on May 15, 2024 – May 17, 2024. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us. I am excited for our membership to experience a new venue coupled with some great speakers and guests.
Our Board is going into their second year of their terms and reflects as follows:
BY JAMES A. PERRY (SAGINAW COUNTY)
Aggravated circumstances are not necessarily new to neglect cases, however, the appellate courts have been focusing on this and other issues arising in the child welfare arena lately. A review and examination of the law as it presently stands may be helpful.
What are aggravated circumstances? They refer to statutorily defined conduct that, when found by the judicial officer, removes the requirement of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“the Department”) to provide reasonable efforts towards reunification and relieves the agency of the obligation to provide services to the parent. Aggravated circumstances are found in two statutes, MCL 712A.19a(2) and MCL 722.638. The first is the permanency planning statute and the second is part of the child protection law. Many of the aggravated circumstances are similar to the grounds for termination of parental rights in MCL 712A.19b(3).
BY PETER KULAS-DOMINGUEZ (KENT COUNTY)
The following are pending proposed changes to the Michigan Court Rules:
ADM File 2022-03: Proposed Amendment of MCR 1.109
This ADM file would allow parties and attorneys to identify their personal pronouns and would require courts to use those pronouns both verbally and in writing, unless doing so would result in an unclear record. This ADM was issued January 18, 2023 and the comment period expired May 1, 2023.
The public comment period lasted for 103 days and while most proposed court rules receive single-digit comments, this proposed rule received 433 comments during the allotted period, another 11 comments were entered after the deadline, totaling 444 comments as of August 31, 2023.
The proposed rule presented in full is as follows:
Parties and attorneys may also include any personal pronouns in the name section of the caption, and courts are required to use those personal pronouns when referring to or identifying the party or attorney, either verbally or in writing. Nothing in this subrule prohibits the court from using the individual’s name or other respectful means of addressing the individual if doing so will help ensure a clear record.
A public hearing was held on June 7, 2023.
ADM File 2021-10: Proposed Amendment of the Michigan Rules of Evidence
The Proposed amendment would restyle the MREs in an effort to remain as consistent as possible with the 2011 restyling of the Federal Rules of Evidence. This ADM was issued on March 22, 2203 and the comment period expired July 1, 2023.
The relevant proposed changes can be found here.
BY KATE WEAVER (OAKLAND COUNTY)
The bill would amend the domestic violence prevention and treatment Act to allow Federally recognized Indian tribes that have trust land located in the State to receive assistance and funds for the establishment or maintenance of a shelter program for victims of domestic violence and their dependent children.
Status: This bill passed the House vote and was referred to the Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety.
BY RYAN O'NEIL (OAKLAND COUNTY)
Kuebler v. Kuebler, _____ Mich App _____, ______ NW2d ______, 2023 (Docket No. 362488) Washtenaw County
This most recent opinion is one of many opinions and orders that stem from a highly contentious matter. At the initial custody determination, Dr. Ludolph, the psychologist, found that Mother had borderline personality disorder and Father had anger management issues. Since the last order on appeal, Father was awarded sole legal and sole physical custody of the minor children.
BY TRACEY MARTIN (WAYNE COUNTY)
CASE: In re EE, Minor, ____ Mich App____ (April 13, 2023), No. 358457, Eaton Circuit Court
COURT: Michigan Court of Appeals (FOR PUBLICATION)
JUDGES: Gleicher, Boonstra, and Cameron; Concurrence – Gleicher; Separate Concurrence - Cameron and Boonstra
Right to counsel in truancy proceedings under MCL 712A.17c & MCR 3.915(a); MCL 712A.2(a)(4); Juvenile waiver of right to counsel; MCL 712A.17c(3); MCR 3.915(A)(3); People v Anderson; Unequivocal request to proceed pro se; Knowing, intelligent & voluntary waiver; Whether acting as own counsel would disrupt, unduly inconvenience, & burden the trial court & the administration of its business; Requirement that an attorney be appointed for a juvenile in a delinquency proceeding if the trial court determines it is in the juvenile’s best interests; MCR 3.915(2)(e)
BY REBEKAH SELLERS (MACOMB COUNTY)
BY REBEKAH SELLERS (MACOMB COUNTY)
“So long you chaps. You’ve been damned nice.”
– Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
This past February, my husband and I took our first vacation since 2018: we went to Key West. Since we visited Ernest Hemingway’s home on the trip (and our 6-hour return flight turned into a 10-hour flight with an extra 4-hour layover), I downloaded my first Ernest Hemingway novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” to read in the airport. Something about it really resonated with me, and I finished it by the time we were home.
In a nutshell, the book is about a group of young American expatriate friends whose lives have been upended by WWI and they are more or less transients living adventure-to-adventure across Europe. During their travels, in seemingly innocuous ways, they end up having brief but meaningful discussions about life’s purpose and trying to find the best way to spend one’s time on earth.