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With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading throughout the country, and certainly within our jails in prisons, one of the questions at the top of many minds is whether or not a federal inmate in the BOP can get relief on his sentence under the compassionate release statute and the First Step Act because of the coronavirus. The short answer is yes, maybe, but there are several specific and unique factors to consider in each individual case. Traditionally and for years, a federal criminal sentence could only be amended in one of…Read More

“An accused student’s rights must be guaranteed — not left open for interpretation. . . . Imposing a suspension, prior to a hearing and adjudication is unconstitutional.” John Doe v University of Michigan, et al, Case No. 18-11776, March 23, 2020. That does not appear to be a sweeping or controversial statement – at least it shouldn’t be. But unfortunately in 2020, with the current environment on campuses everywhere, a federal judge must write an opinion that reminds college administrators of this basic premise – one central to the entire legal…Read More

Mark A. Satawa Has Been Nominated and Accepted as a 2019 AIOCLA’s 10 Best in Michigan For Client Satisfaction The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys has recognized the exceptional performance of Michigan’s Criminal Law Attorney Mark A. Satawa as 2019 10 Best Criminal Law Attorneys for Client Satisfaction. The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Criminal Law attorneys in each state. Attorneys who are selected to the “10 Best” list must pass AIOCLA’s rigorous…Read More

Everyone should be clear about what Title IX disciplinary hearings are about. The typical Title IX case is one student accusing a fellow student of a “date rape” type sexual assault, following a date, or a night of drinking at the bar. They are NOT about Larry Nassar. Let’s make this clear – Nassar was a monster. I like Elisa Slotkin, and I am not a big fan of Education Secretary DeVoss. But the reforms DeVoss introduced to bring Title IX hearings back under control are a huge step in the…Read More

Do people confess to crimes they don’t commit? The age old question in criminal law. It seems so difficult to believe. Why would anyone admit to doing something they didn’t do? Particularly something as awful as sexual assault, child abuse, shaken baby, murder, or molesting a child. We all want to think – if I was ever charged with something like that, and I didn’t do it, I would SCREAM “I’m innocent!” I would never confess to it. But there is overwhelming and undeniable evidence to the contrary, in the…Read More

There is good news out of the Michigan Supreme Court, as it ruled last month that it was error to deny a defendant expert assistance for her post-conviction motion arguing ineffective assistance of and for a Ginther hearing. People v Ulp, SCt Case No. 15980 (9/25/19), http://publicdocs.courts.mi.gov/SCT/PUBLIC/ORDERS/159080_116_01.pdf. This was a medically complex SBS/AHT case, with a 14 month old child, with developmental delays and a drug addicted mother. The trial attorney did not get a number of important medical records and had no expert witnesses. Click on the attached to read the opinion and…Read More

Five Things To Do When You Are Falsely Accused Of Sexual Abuse It’s no secret that sexual assault is terrible – one of the worst crimes that anyone can ever commit. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the worst crimes to ever be falsely accused of committing. And being false accused of these offenses can be so easy. Frequently it just takes one person’s word, and then you are charged in a she said/he said situation. What do you do? How do you show that you did not do this? How do you…Read More

At long last, Michigan appears to be on its way to changing the rules of the State’s Sex Offender Registration Act – and with these changes bring some much needed sanity to a law much in need of it. Currently, Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act, MCLA 28.721 et. seq., is a “one tier” system. This means that anyone convicted of a “listed” sex offense in Michigan is put on the same registry. The act makes no distinctions between dangerous child predators convicted of molesting young children, and teenagers accused “statutory rape” (MCLA…Read More

It’s back in the news – again. That’s right, just when you thought it was safe to go outside, the “debate” regarding shaken baby syndrome, and its use in criminal courtrooms throughout the country, is back. On February 2, 2011, Emily Bazelon, a senior editor at Slate and the Truman Capote law-and-media fellow at Yale Law School, published a balanced, well researched, and thorough summary of the most recent state of the controversy surrounding shaken baby syndrome forensic evidence in the United States —Shaken-Baby Syndrome Faces New Questions in Court,…Read More

A hot-off-the presses published opinion of the Court of Appeals has finally determined that registration under Michigan’s Sexual Offenders Registration Act (SORA) is a “direct consequence” of guilt. People v Fonville, No. 294554 (Decided January 25, 2011). As a “direct consequence,” it is ineffective assistance of counsel to not identify this requirement to a defendant who is considering a plea offer for a charge that requires registry. Before now, criminal defendants all too frequently agreed to plead guilty and take their punishments by way of jail or prison time, only to…Read More

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