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Flint can’t be sued; cops gave gun to man in suicide
FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court says Flint can’t be sued for the death of a man who killed himself after police returned a gun to him.
Ken Wheeler’s gun was taken after he tried to kill himself in 2014. The weapon was returned 13 months later in January 2016. He killed himself in May of that year.
Wheeler’s family says Flint was negligent in returning the gun. The appeals court says police failed to follow “guidelines, ordinances and statutory requirements,” but Flint still is immune to a lawsuit because the conduct doesn’t fall into any of six exceptions.
The court reversed a decision by Genesee County Judge Geoffrey Neithercut.
MICHIGAN STATE-HOLOCAUST MUSIC
Michigan State ensembles to memorialize Holocaust victims
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Two Michigan State University ensembles are performing music in memory of the Holocaust.
The MSU Symphony Orchestra and Choral Ensembles perform Saturday night in East Lansing’s Wharton Center and Sunday afternoon in Detroit’s Orchestra Hall.
The concerts feature performances of Dimitri Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 13” entitled “Babi Yar,” which memorializes the massacre of Ukrainian Jews by Nazi forces in 1941. In the two years following, many more Jews and others would also be killed at Babi Yar, a ravine near Kiev.
Also on the program are selections from “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” by Charles Davidson. The piece is a setting of poems by Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.
Before the concerts, lectures are planned about the Holocaust’s artistic reaction and remembrance.
Evidence found; prosecutors seek freeze in Flint water case
DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan attorney general’s office has asked a judge not to release a decision in a major criminal case tied to the Flint water crisis after discovering a new “trove of documents” from state agencies.
Prosecutors want a six-month freeze in the case of Nick Lyon, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area. Judge Joseph Farah tells The Associated Press that he’ll hold a hearing on that request on May 3.
Lyon was director of the Michigan health department under Gov. Rick Snyder. He’s been ordered to trial, but Farah is considering an appeal of that ruling. The judge planned to release a decision no later than May 17.
Prosecutors say 23 boxes of evidence related to Flint water were found in the basement of a state building.
Michigan cop returning to job after veteran arrest uproar
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Western Michigan police say an officer accused by activists of racial profiling by notifying immigration officials about the arrest of a mentally ill Latino war veteran did not violate department policy through his action.
The Grand Rapids Police Department said in a release Friday Capt. Curtis VanderKooi will return to work Monday. He was placed on leave Feb. 28.
Activists called for VanderKooi’s firing after Immigration and Customs Enforcement held Jilmar Ramos-Gomez for three days in December before releasing the Michigan-born man and U.S. citizen. VanderKooi told ICE about Ramos-Gomez’ November arrest at a hospital, referring to him as “loco,” or crazy.
Officials say it was “appropriate to coach” VanderKooi after an investigation found “unprofessional conduct.”
An appeal will be heard by the Civilian Appeals Board on May 15.
Catholic group sues over Michigan policy on adoption
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A Roman Catholic social services agency that declines to place children with same-sex couples has filed a lawsuit to stop Michigan from penalizing the group if it sticks to its policy on foster care and adoption.
Catholic Charities West Michigan in Grand Rapids filed the lawsuit Thursday. The group says Michigan law allows it to practice its religion by turning down same-sex couples. But the group says services will be threatened by a recent change at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The department can terminate contracts with faith-based groups if they discriminate against LGBTQ individuals. Catholic Charities says the department has “blindly followed” the instructions of Attorney General Dana Nessel.
The department declined to comment on Friday. St. Vincent Catholic Charities has filed a similar lawsuit.
GOP “seawall”? Ohio’s congressional map under fire in court
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Nagel family’s home in Cincinnati is a house divided.
That’s because the U.S. House district boundary cuts through it. Critics of Ohio’s congressional map say the Nagel home is one of many examples of problems with Republican-controlled redistricting that has confused voters and produced purely partisan results — not a single seat has changed parties since the map took effect for 2012 elections.
A three-judge panel could rule soon on arguments that Ohio’s map is unconstitutional. A panel in Michigan ruled Thursday in favor of a similar challenge to that state’s congressional and legislative maps. The cases could result in new districts for 2020 elections that would have implications for the presidential contest.
Defenders say the map shows “democracy in action,” and courts should stay out. The Supreme Court is considering similar cases from two other states.
Court: No cash for man who spent nearly 9 years in prison
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A court says a Kent County man who spent nearly nine years in prison before winning an acquittal in a sexual assault case doesn’t qualify for compensation for the wrongly convicted.
The Michigan appeals court says Dennis Tomasik got a second trial only because the state Supreme Court said a police recording was improperly admitted at the first trial. The court says it’s not the same as having a conviction reversed based on new evidence.
Tomasik was acquitted at a second trial after jurors listened to new witnesses and saw many new exhibits. He says that should qualify him for Michigan’s compensation program, which grants $50,000 for every year spent in prison.
The 3-0 opinion Thursday was written by Judge Brock Swartzle. It sets a key precedent for how the Court of Claims will review claims for compensation by people who say they were wrongly convicted.
Musk, SEC settle dispute over tweets; Musk accepts oversight
WASHINGTON (AP) — Elon Musk and U.S. securities regulators have settled their dispute over the Tesla CEO’s tweets, with Musk agreeing to having his future communications regarding the electric-car maker pre-approval by a company-employed expert.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and Musk reached the agreement, which they detailed in filings Friday in federal court in Manhattan. The agreement must be approved by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, who has presided over the case.
The deal means Musk would no longer face the threat of being held in contempt as the SEC has demanded.
The agreement requires Musk to get approval in advance from “an experienced securities lawyer” employed by Tesla before he issues any written communication on a wide range of financial topics detailed in the documents.
Former Michigan sheriff wins pension case for on-duty injury
(Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com)
CHARLOTTE, Mich. (AP) — A former county sheriff in southern Michigan could soon receive a pension for the epilepsy he developed 20 years after he was beaten in the head with a metal flashlight during an arrest.
The Lansing State Journal reports that the Municipal Employees Retirement System board voted Thursday to award a duty-related disability pension to former Eaton County Sheriff Sgt. Jim West. The approval also opens the door for the 49-year-old to receive health care coverage for the seizures he developed two decades after the 1997 beating.
Eaton County had argued that West’s epilepsy wasn’t connected to the beating, despite doctors saying the two were linked.
The retirement system’s spokeswoman says the county has 60 days to file an appeal.
Eaton County Controller John Fuentes says he doesn’t expect an appeal.