Disqualification

Dearborn Disqualification Upheld

I won a nice win today in the Court of Appeals in Dearborn v Navoy, Court of Appeals No. 311069. Dearborn District Judge Somers has been an outspoken critic of medical marijuana and actually wrote an opinion declaring the law unconstitutional. Despite his repeated comments about his disbelief of the legitimacy of medical marijuana, his belief that that it is the “devil’s weed,” and his long monologues against the drugs, he refused to remove himself from Dearborn v Navoy. The District Chief Judge removed him, the Circuit Court affirmed, and now the Court of Appeals firmed in the linked opinion. While not clear from the opinion, Mr. Navoy has a medical marijuana card. We are placed that our client will have an opportunity to present the matter to a judge who has not staked out the position that Judge Somers has taken.
I also want to give a public nod to my colleague and friend Neil Rockind for his brilliant work in the case. He is a truly great co-counsel.

Michigan Supreme Court Adopts New Disqualification Rules: Is the Glass Half Empty or Full?

A new rule promulgated by the Michigan Supreme Court allows justices to disqualify each other from cases. Previously each justice decided whether he or she was unbiased and rarely gave an explanation for the decision. The new rule has produced extraordinary reaction from the bench. Read More...

Can Judges Hear a Case Which Might Eliminate Their Jobs?

The voter’s of Michigan will probably have a chance to vote on a proposal which will downsize the size of Michigan’s Supreme Court. The proposed initiative is being constitutionally challenged and is currently before the Michigan Supreme Court. The Court has scheduled oral arguments on the application for leave to appeal. As part of the order, the Court also denied the motion to disqualify two members of the Court from sitting on the Court. The plaintiff’s argued that the very judges whose job was being eliminated could not heard the case because they had a personal interest in keeping their job. The two justices disagreed invoking the “rule of necessity” which says that if it is impossible for an unbiased court to hear the case, then the judges can sit. Two other justices joined in this opinion. Justice Kelly has promised her separate opinion in short order.