Rick Pluta


The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether it’s legal for judges to order defendants to pay fees and court costs.

A defendant says that violates the state constitution.

Shawn Cameron Junior was ordered to pay more than 16 hundred dollars in court costs after he was convicted of assault. But he says that amounts to a tax, and only the Legislature can enact taxes. He says courts can also be arbitrary in how they set the charges.

The Michigan Supreme Court has said “no” to a new trial for a man convicted of manslaughter for shooting a woman through a screen door early in the morning.

The man says he thought he was defending himself.

Theodore Wafer wanted a new trial where the jury would be instructed on his rights under Michigan’s “stand-your-ground” law. It allows people to shoot intruders with no duty to retreat if that’s possible.


Governor Rick Snyder’s budget chief says the administration will roll out a plan to improve school safety.

   It’s part of the state’s response to the Florida school shootings.

Budget Director John Walsh appeared on the Michigan Public Television show “Off The Record.”  He says the governor told him to be ready to re-prioritize spending plans if he can come up with a workable school safety proposal.

“He is directly involved in these discussions. Legislators are involved. I don’t have a ballpark yet.”


The Legislature has sent a bill to Governor Rick Snyder that forbids local governments from adopting ordinances dealing with questions employers may ask in job interviews.

It’s an effort to preempt local rules that bar asking about salary histories and criminal backgrounds.

There are no such local regulations in Michigan, but they have been adopted in other states.

Democratic state Representative Jeremy Moss was a “no” vote. He says these decisions belong with local elected officials.


The state House has approved bills that would allow for extremely sick or frail prisoners to be paroled for medical reasons, and moved to a secure hospital or nursing home.

   It’s an emerging issue as the state’s prison population grows older.

Prisons are dealing with inmates who have dementia, advanced stages of cancer, and chronic conditions that leave them unable to care for themselves outside a hospital or nursing home.

   Treating prisoners with these conditions inside a prison is difficult and expensive, supporters say.


Tuition-free community college for all is one of the priorities rolled out today (Mon.) by state House Democrats.

   The Democrats’ plans create several friction points with Republicans.

And Republicans control the House. That means the Democrats’ ideas are not likely to get hearings. But the agenda also serves as an election year platform.

   House Democratic Leader Sam Singh used the rollout to take aim at Republican leadership during the Governor Rick Snyder years in Lansing.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says the special prosecutor looking into MSU’s handling of abuse allegations is independent of his office.

But that’s not what the contract says.

The agreement with special prosecutor William Forsyth says he reports directly to and must clear major decisions with Schuette.

Schuette says that’s just standard contract language for special attorneys retained by his office. Schuette says the highly respected former Kent County prosecutor has no specific orders from his office.

   “He’s the boss. He’s running the show.”


Public universities might risk losing a portion of their state funding for failing to meet benchmarks to prevent campus sexual misconduct.

       That’s part of a budget proposal that’s begun working its way through the Legislature.

The plan is to hold back funding for universities that don’t meet all the requirements of Title Nine and other programs to prevent campus sexual misconduct.

A ballot campaign will begin gathering signatures to add a voting rights amendment to the state constitution.

If the effort gathers enough signatures, the question will go on the November ballot for voters to decide.

The amendment would make it easier to cast an early ballot, or vote absentee. It would preserve the right to easily cast a straight-party ballot with a single mark.

The effort is backed by the ACLU, the Detroit Branch of the N-double-A-C-P, and the League of Women Voters. Kary Moss is with the ACLU.


Michigan State University has begun the process to fire the supervisor of former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

MSU’s interim president says the dean of the school of osteopathic medicine didn’t exert appropriate control over Nassar’s conduct.

Nassar is sentenced to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing athletes who were his patients.