July 19, 2004 - July 25, 2004
Volume 2 Issue 29

In the Capitol
The Michigan House of Representatives and Senate are recessed until August 4th.

FOCUS: Drug Treatment Courts
On July 21, 2004, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed into law legislation that will allow all state counties to create drug treatments courts within their judicial systems. Drug treatment courts are already used on a pilot basis in some counties. The State Bar of Michigan supports the institutionalization and availability of drug treatment courts. See Also: State News.

Please refer to the following legislation for detailed information:
HB 5647 – PA 219 (Howell) Criminal procedure; probation; conditions of probation; include participation in drug treatment court. TIE BAR WITH SB 998.

HB 5674 – PA 220 (Acciavatti) Criminal procedure; sentencing; sentencing procedures; include references to drug treatment courts.

HB 5716 – PA 221
(Meisner) Juveniles; criminal procedure; commitment of juvenile to drug treatment court; allow. TIE BAR WITH SB 998.

HB 5928 – PA 223 (Condino) Courts; other; referral to drug treatment court for certain persons eligible for deferred sentence and dismissal of charge; provide for. TIE BAR WITH SB 998.

HB 5932 – PA 222 (Lipsey) Courts; other; reporting of certain dispositions of drug treatment court that do not result in convictions; allow for. TIE BAR WITH HB 5674 and SB 998.

SB 998 – PA 224
(Cropsey) Courts; other; drug treatment courts; establish.

SB 999 – PA 225 (Sanborn) Controlled substances; penalties; eligibility for probation and dismissal of charges; coordinate with drug treatment courts. TIE BAR WITH SB 998.

SB 1000 – PA 226
(Patterson) Criminal procedure; youthful trainees; eligibility for youthful trainee program; coordinate with drug treatment courts. TIE BAR WITH SB 998.

Complete Committee Meeting List

Capitol Agenda
View Full Text
Detroit News (7/24/04)

At the Bar
The Board of Commissioners met on Friday, July 23, 2004. The following public policy positions were adopted by a unanimous vote.

HB 5338 (Howell) Civil procedure; other; procedure for affidavit of merit for medical malpractice; revise.
Status: 07/06/04 Substitute H-4 adopted and amended; Placed on third reading; Placed on immediate passage; Passed; given immediate effect; Title amended
RESCIND POSITION: Support in Principle with amendment that would provide an equal filing time of 63 days for both parties; adopted by unanimous vote.
ADOPT POSITION: Support in Principle


HB 5905 (Howell) Torts; malpractice; retroactive effect of amended affidavit of meritorious defense in medical malpractice action; allow only with showing of good cause. TIE BAR WITH HB 5338.
Status: 07/06/04 Substitute H-3 adopted and amended; Placed on third reading; Placed on immediate passage; Passed; given immediate effect
RESCIND POSITION: Support in Principle with amendment that would provide an equal filing time of 63 days for both parties; adopted by unanimous vote.
ADOPT POSITION: Support in Principle

HB 5680 (Middaugh) – Civil procedure; garnishment and attachment; stay of garnishment of bank account or tax refund when installment payments are made on judgment; provide for.
Status: 07/01/04 Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee
POSITION: Support in Principle

HB 5718 (Gaffney) – Probate; wills and estates; provisions to allow and establish requirements for living wills; enact.
Status: 03/30/04 Referred to the House Judiciary Committee
POSITION: Support in Principle. The State Bar has historically promoted the use of living wills.

HB 5846 (Stakoe) – Criminal procedure; prosecuting attorneys; notification period to surety for defendant's failure to appear; extend to 14 days.
Status: 07/01/04 Reported by Committee of the whole favorably without amendment; Placed on order of third reading
POSITION: Support in Principle

SB 929 (Hammerstrom) – Counties; employees and officers; reference to register of deeds accepting funds with redemption on a foreclosure; eliminate.
Status: 01/28/04 Referred to the Senate Local, Urban and State Affairs Committee

SB 930 (Hammerstrom) – Counties; employees and officers; reference to register of deeds accepting funds with redemption on a foreclosure; eliminate.
Status: 01/28/04 Referred to the Senate Local, Urban and State Affairs Committee
POSITION: Oppose in Principle. The State Bar recognizes that some mortgagors are difficult to find and may not want to accept payments, and therefore the State Bar supports the continuing practice of a neutral party (register of deeds) accepting payments.

SB 1263 (Sanborn) – Criminal procedure; warrants; requirement to establish paper quality and durability standards for arrest warrants; eliminate.
Status: 07/06/04 Placed on third reading; Placed on immediate passage; Passed; given immediate effect; Inserted full title; Returned to Senate

POSITION: Support in Principle

Federal News
High Court Asked To End Child Executions
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(Washington Post, 07/19/04)

Bush Signs Bill To Stockpile Antidotes
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(Traverse City Record-Eagle, 07/21/04


FORUM: The following article was written by State Bar member Robert S. Anderson in collaboration with Peter Psarouthakis regarding federal bill HR 2971. At this time, the State Bar of Michigan does not have a position on the bill. Contrary viewpoints are welcome and may be submitted by e-mail to elyon@mail.michbar.org.

HR 2971, the “Social Security Number Privacy and Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2004” as ordered reported by the Sub-committee on Social Security. The legislation would have a severe impact on the nation’s ability to fight identity theft, consumer fraud and would hamper the entire judicial system.

The purpose of the legislation is commendable. Provisions limiting the public display of Social Security numbers or the sale of SSN’s for illicit purposes and stronger penalties for identity theft are all positive. But two provisions of HR 2971 would have substantial negative impacts on the court system and will make it more difficult for law enforcement and private security to fight the scourge of identity theft. Section 109 of the bill would deny access to “credit headers,” which is non-credit identifying information utilized by attorneys and their investigators to locate witnesses, heirs, fraudsters, and others. The use of “credit header” information is a cost-effective way to locate individuals for legitimate purposes.It is only available to those companies contracting with information providers which can show a legitimate use of the information. Attorneys and Investigators utilizing the information are subject to audit by the providers.

If Congress denies access for the use of credit headers for attorneys and their support personnel, the cost of locating witnesses will increase substantially. The impact of the decision will adversely affect indigent defendants and close the courthouse doors to others of limited means.

Section 108 outlaws the sale of SSN information in most instances. There are thousands of Americans with identical names. We need to be able to identify the correct John Smith when seeking to locate a witness, for example. Because there are tens of thousands of them, many share the same birth date! How can we assure the court we have the right person without the use of the SSN? There are only very limited exceptions to the prohibition listed in the legislation.

It was hoped that HR 2971 would be improved during subcommittee markup. But instead it has become worse. How can one justify a new provision making it illegal to provide someone else’s SSN to a government agency without the person’s permission? Example: If an attorney is retained to help a client reclaim their "stolen" identity they, or their investigator, may end up locating an identity thief with 10 SSN’s in his/her possession. The bill says that a person cannot provide this information to the authorities without the identity thief's permission. Although the bill says that a person could do so if required by the authorities, the fact is that in most cases of identity theft the authorities need to be persuaded to become involved. They won’t mandate anything until shown the evidence. Likewise, an employer given a suspicious ID by a job applicant would not be able to send the information to authorities.

Clearly, this legislation needs further review. Despite several hearings, a large amount of testimony, by interested groups, the measure has not improved. The consequences of enacting the bill without full consideration of its ramifications will be considerable. All of us want to protect against identity theft. Does it make any sense to take away the tools being used to fight it?

One particular group that is strongly behind the fight to fix this bill is the National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS). On their web site, www.nciss.org, testimony that was given to the sub-committee on Social Security can be viewed. The NCISS Michigan representative is Peter Psarouthakis. He is also the Vice President of the Michigan Council of Private Investigators. For further information on this bill he can be reached at peter@ewiassociates.com or 734-433-2670."

Please note that this article was transmitted because of its perceived relevance to the legal community. The State Bar of Michigan is not responsible for the views expressed in this article.

State News
Lawmakers To Tackle Budget Impasse
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(Lansing State Journal, 7/19/04)
See Related:
House, Senate To Meet After Primary
View Full Text
(Lansing State Journal, 7/20/04)

Nader To Stay On State Ballot
View Full Text
(Lansing State Journal, 7/20/04)

Law Paves Way For More Drug Courts
View Full Text
(Lansing State Journal, 7/22/04)
See Also: Focus: Drug Treatment Courts

Sentencing Guidelines Defended
View Full Text
(Detroit News, 7/23/04)

Overturned Sex Harassment Verdict Is Partial DaimlerChrysler Victory
View Full Text
(Detroit News, 7/23/04)

Howell Reviews Sign Law
View Full Text
(Detroit News, 7/23/04)

Clerks Say Voter Turnout Has Slow Start
View Full Text
(Lansing State Journal, 7/25/04)

Links of Interest
Public Policy Resource Center
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