Category Archives: Jury Duty

New Michigan Jury Rules Starting September 1

The Michigan Supreme Court has announced new jury rules that will take begin this September. Jurors will be allowed to pose questions to witnesses, take notes, get mid-trial commentaries from lawyers and in civil cases discuss the evidence during the trial.

Some highlight of the new law include:

Jurors can, with judge’s OK, submit questions in civil and criminal trials.

•Jurors can, with judge’s OK, take notes during the case and use them in deliberations.

•Jurors in civil cases can, with the judge’s OK, discuss the evidence among themselves when all are present in the jury room before the conclusion of the case.

•Jurors will be given pretrial instructions covering their duties, trial procedures and the applicable law.

•At the judge’s discretion, attorneys may give interim commentary as well as their opening statement and final argument.

•Judge must give juries a written copy of the final instructions and must invite jurors to ask questions to clarify the instructions.

•If there is a deadlock or impasse, a judge “may invite” jurors to list the outstanding issues if the judge can help “in clarifying or amplifying the final instructions.”

If you are looking for representation in your criminal or civil case contact Ambrose Law Group at (248) 624-5500

We provide criminal, civil, family, bankruptcy and medical marijuana representation in Michigan. Our lawyers our graduates of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer’s College and ready to fight for you!

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Warren Juror Gets Fine and Homework For Her Facebook Post

Earlier this week we posted about the juror who was dismissed from duty after a comment she left on her facebook page. Today the Judge dealt her the consequences.

Hadley Jons, the Warren woman who was removed from a jury for declaring the defendant guilty on Facebook before the trial was over, has been ordered to pay $250 and write an essay about the constitutional right to a fair trial.

Read the full DetNews article here

What do you think about her sentence?

Holly@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Holly Valente, Jury Duty, Social Media And The Law

Macomb County Juror In Trouble For Facebook Post

We’ve posted a few blogs about ways facebook, your phone , and emails , might not be as private as you think.  Today we get one more example to prove our case.  A Macomb County Juror was removed from jury duty  after an attorney uncovered one of her facebook posts. Read the full story here

The defense attorney’s son found the post while checking juror’s names on the internet.

The juror had posted a status stating the defendant was guilty, BEFORE the trial had ended.  The juror may now face contempt of court charges and possible jail time.

Thoughts?

Holly@ambroselawgroup.com

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Filed under Contempt of Court, Holly Valente, Jury Duty, Privacy Laws, Social Media And The Law

Keeping A Clean Record: Juvenile Consent Calendar

The juvenile justice system allows those under sixteen years of age an opportunity to keep their childhood indiscretions off of their public records. One way the juvenile court does this is by putting a case on the “consent calendar.”

The consent calendar allows a judge to treat a juvenile case in an informal way. The court, the juvenile and the juvenile’s parents must all agree that the consent calendar is the best route for the case. Consent calendar is appropriate when “protective and supportive action by the court will serve the best interests of the juvenile and the public.”

By electing to take part in the informal consent calendar, the juvenile is waiving several important rights. Rights such as:

  • Formal notice of the charges;
  • Right to a court appointed attorney;
  • Right to a trial, before a judge or jury;
  • The presumption of innocence;
    • If the juvenile decides to take part in the consent calendar, they must admit responsibility for what they are being charged with. They are not allowed to maintain their innocence.
  • The presentation of proof beyond a reasonable doubt;
    • In an adult criminal case, a defendant (person accused) is presumed innocent until the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, and the defendant was the one that committed it. To proceed under the consent calendar, the prosecutor does not need to prove anything, and the juvenile must admit responsibility for whatever they are charged with.
  • The right to testify on his or her own behalf;
  • The privilege against self-incrimination;
  • The right to present witnesses;
  • The right to confront and cross-examine accusers;
  • The right to use the subpoena power of the court to compel witnesses to attend court.

In order to get the protection of the consent calendar, the juvenile must admit responsibility for the crimes they are charged with. The judge does not enter adjudication. The court then comes up with a case plan for each juvenile. The case plan normally involves providing services to the juvenile to help rehabilitate them, and teach them not to commit more crimes in the future. Once the case plan is successfully completed the court must close the case and can destroy all records of the proceeding.

If the juvenile does not follow the case plan, or for any other reason the court finds that the consent calendar is no longer in the best interests of the juvenile or society, the case will be transferred back to the formal calendar. Once the case is transferred to the formal calendar, the juvenile regains all of the rights they waived by joining the consent calendar.

The court may transfer the case from the formal calendar to the consent calendar, or visa versa, at any time before disposition.

The consent calendar is a good option for a juvenile when:

  • It is their first offense;
  • The incident was an isolated event and it is unlikely the juvenile will get in trouble again;
  • The juvenile admits they did what they are being charged with and shows a willingness to stay out of trouble in the future;
  • The juvenile needs services and monitoring by the court.

*Not all cases can be removed from the formal docket. Felonies and serious misdemeanors must be petitioned to be removed from the formal docket. The court must give notice to the prosecutor and the victim of the crime and allow them a chance to address the court about the removal before it can be done.

For more information on juvenile cases, contact Samantha Moffett at 248-624-5500 or Samantha@ambroselawgroup.com.

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Filed under Jury Duty, Juvenile Crime, Keeping a Clean Record

Jailed because of Jury Duty

There’s an interesting article in the Detroit Free Press today about a woman in Oakland County who’s being jailed for 24 hours because she was late for jury duty. As a stay at home mom she had an issue finding child care for her two young children. When she showed up late to court Judge Leo Bowman found her in contempt, ordered her to sit as a spectator for the two-week long murder trial and imposed a 24 hour jail sentence when the trial finished. For the whole story click here

Our legal system is based on the idea that everyone has the right to tell their side of the story in front of 12 unbiased every day citizens. Do you agree? And do you think your civic duty to the legal system should come first even though it may be an inconvenience to your everyday life?

Here is some basic info on what contempt of court is:

Contempt of Court

Contempt is the power of the court to force someone to do something, make them stop doing something, or punish someone for violating a court order.

Contempt is can be either civil or criminal:

· Civil contempt is used to get someone to comply with a court order or to compensate someone for damages caused by disobeying a court order.

o If found in civil contempt, a person can be fined up to $7,500, be ordered to pay other costs and damages, or be jailed until they comply with the court’s order.

· Criminal contempt is used to punishment someone for disobeying a court’s order.

o If found in criminal contempt, a person can be fined up to $7,500, be ordered to pay other costs and damages, or be jailed for up to 93 days.

Normally, a hearing must be held to determine if the contempt occurred. But if the contempt occurred in the immediate view of the court (in the court room, during court proceedings) the judge is allowed to use summary proceedings. This means the judge can hold someone in contempt and punish them without a full hearing.

Remember: You have the right to an attorney if you are charged with contempt!

You have the right to have notice of the charges against you, an opportunity to present a defense or explanation, and the right to have an attorney assist you in the process.

Common situations where courts exercise their power of contempt:

· Violation of a court order

· Failure to pay child support

· Violation of a personal protection order (PPO)

· Violation of a parenting time order

· Refusal to testify as a witness

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Filed under Contempt of Court, Jury Duty