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Witnesses Against a Criminal Defendant Must be in Person

Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court held that video testimony from a witness for the prosecution was unconstitutional. In a unanimous decision, the Court stated that the defendant in a criminal trial had the right to confront witnesses against him in person. While the decision follows the long legal history about the Confrontation Clause, the decision comes during the Coronavirus pandemic and the age of Zoom meetings.

Domestic Violence during COVID-19

Abigail Richards, Esq.

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Following the issuance of the global lockdowns to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many find themselves at home with a significant other. For some, this means sheltering in place with their abuser. Many countries are seeing a dramatic increase in domestic violence reports, with the United Nations Secretary - General, António Gutteres, stating there has been "a horrifying surge in domestic violence." In American cities specifically, reports of domestic violence have risen while reports of other crimes has fallen. An analysis of five major American cities shows that although most types of crime have fallen in recent weeks, reports of domestic violence have increased.

Parenting time and the Coronavirus

Abigail Richards, Esq.

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Following the issuance of the Governor's Stay Safe, Stay Home Order, many parents are struggling with how to safely exercise parenting time. Governor Whitmer's Executive Order 2020-21 (COVID-19) was issued on March 23, 2020 and ordered all non-essential workers to stay home to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Under the Order, parenting time was explicitly considered in section 7(b)(4), where individuals were permitted to travel if they were transporting a child pursuant to a custody agreement.

Child Support Modifications and the Coronavirus

Abigail Richards, Esq.

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In the face of lockdowns and stay at home orders, many Michiganders have found themselves with reduced income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and may now be wondering if now is the appropriate time to modify support. If you have a child support or modifiable spousal support order in effect, now is the time to request a modification.

Environmental Protection Agency Announces New Definition for "Waters of the United States"

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced its new definition for "waters of the United States," the definition that determines the scope of the Clean Water Act's coverage.

Divorce and the CARES Act

Abigail Richards, Esq.

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act" or the CARES Act.  Under the Act, Americans with an income lower than $75,000 and couples filing joint tax returns with an income below $150,000 qualify for a "stimulus credit." The stimulus credit for qualified individuals up to $1,200, and for qualified couples is up to $2,400, with an additional $500 for each minor child a person has.  These stimulus credits are determined by either the 2018 or 2019 taxes the parties filed, whichever is most recent.

Could a COVID-19 Stimulus Package Include Measures to Support Community Redevelopment?

Andrea Hayden, Esq.

So far the $2 trillion COVID-19 federal stimulus package has focused on providing a patchwork safety net to keep small businesses and their employees afloat. Continued rumblings from D.C. suggest that there will be an additional outlay of federal assistance in the coming weeks, this time with some potential stimulus designed to support other areas of the economy that are heavily impacted by the coronavirus.

Are You Expecting Payments Under A Lease, Land Contract, Or Promissory Note? It May Be Time To Dust Off Those Documents And Call A Lawyer

Dan V. Artaev, Esq.

It is the start of a new month, and uncertainty permeates the economy. Most, if not all businesses, are shuttered, employees laid off or working in a diminished capacity, orders are down, and there is no end in sight. As a business owner, cash flow is understandably on your mind. While the Small Business Administration and affiliated lenders are gearing up to provide short-term relief through payroll loans, it may be weeks before the applications are processed and actual cash is deposited into bank accounts.

When in Doubt, Get it Out: The Michigan Supreme Court's Administrative Order 2020-3 Does Not Establish a "Tolling" Period For Responsive Pleadings and Motions

Christopher S. Frescoln, Esq.

The Michigan Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 2020-3 ("AO 2020-3") on March 23, 2020. AO 2020-3 extends the deadlines for filing certain initial responsive pleadings and motions in circuit court and probate court for litigants who would otherwise be required to file during the state of emergency declared by Governor Whitmer on March 10, 2020. I have seen multiple articles and blogs published in Michigan over the last week that erroneously refer to the relief granted under AO 2020-3 as a "tolling" period. By its terms AO 2020-3 does not establish a "tolling" period. It merely extends the applicable deadline for filing to the first day after the state of emergency is lifted that is not a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or day on which the court is closed pursuant to court order.

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