court

A woman who entered a plea agreement in the death of an 85-year-old woman who was found in cold weather outside an assisted living center in western Michigan has received a delayed jail sentence. A Kent County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday sentenced Denise Filcek to six months in jail, but agreed to delay the jail term for an appeal.

A cousin of a man charged in the slaying of a 25-year-old western Michigan gas station clerk is expected to avoid additional jail time for helping him afterward. Kevin Bluhm pleaded no contest Monday to being an accessory after the fact of murder. He's been jailed since September 2016 on the charge. A no contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing, which is scheduled Jan. 9. 

A 22-year-old bakery employee has pleaded no contest after being accused of putting pieces of a metal cooling rack into bread in western Michigan.  Muskegon County court records show Adam Brooks' plea to placing harmful objects in food came during a pretrial hearing Monday. A poisoning food charge was dropped. 

Brooks was arrested in March after other employees at R.W. Bakers in Norton Shores notified management. Authorities have said none of the bread ended up available for purchase or consumption.

Police say the recent death of a vehicle passenger after teenagers allegedly threw rocks from a Flint area overpass is just one of many cases in the past four decades where people hurl debris from area bridges. Five teenagers have been charged with second-degree murder in connection to throwing rocks off the Interstate 75 overpass that led to 32-year-old Kenneth White's death this month. 

Jared and Corin via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 / wikimedia.org

Authorities say a former northern Michigan school bus driver has been charged with inappropriately touching a student on his bus.  66-year-old Larry Beutler of Buckley was arraigned Wednesday by video on three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He told the court that he understood the charges against him and is jailed on $200,000 bond. Court records didn't list a lawyer for Beutler. 

Jury picked, testimony starts in trial in jogger's death

Oct 20, 2017

Jurors in western Michigan have heard opening statements in the trial of a man who is charged with killing a jogger, a case that was cold until he was arrested two years later in a different investigation. Jeffrey Willis is accused of shooting Rebekah Bletsch in 2014 in Muskegon County's Dalton Township. 

Liberal critics of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette have cleared a procedural hurdle in a lawsuit seeking emails from the private accounts of key members of his staff. A group called Progress Michigan believes Schuette and 20 staffers for years used private email to discuss public business. The group filed a lawsuit after the attorney general's office responded to a public records request by saying it possessed only one record and it was exempt. 

Wolverine tannery neighbors threaten suit to force cleanup

Oct 16, 2017
suntimes

Residents who live near an old leather tannery waste dump in Belmont are threatening to sue Wolverine World Wide to force it to clean up the site. Attorneys for 40 residents near the long-forgotten dump sent Wolverine a notice of intent to sue on Friday.

Ex-MLB baseball player Chad Curtis ordered to pay $1.8M

Oct 13, 2017

A federal judge has ordered former Major League Baseball player Chad Curtis to pay $1.8 million to a young woman who accused him of inappropriately touching her when he was a volunteer coach at a western Michigan high school. U.S. District Judge Janet Neff said Thursday that Curtis "shattered" the trust the victim placed in Curtis. The woman testified she lost all of her friends soon after she accused Curtis. 

Deal ends legal challenge over tourism room tax

Oct 13, 2017
gavel and law book
SalFalko via Flickr | CC BY 3.0 / flickr.com

A tourism bureau in northern Michigan will stop collecting a room tax from two inns after a lawsuit challenged whether the levy was legal. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation says a judge dismissed the case after Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau said it would stop assessing the fee against Sylvan Inn and Lakeshore Inn in Glen Arbor. 

The lawsuit could have had broad consequences for tourism promotion programs around Michigan. More than 50 tourism agencies collect a room tax. But the judge didn't rule on whether it violated the First Amendment.

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