Monthly Archives: December 2015

Hearing set today in terrorism threat case

The attorney representing a former Howell High School student accused of making a terrorism threat on Twitter says his client has “suffered his whole life.”

Southfield defense attorney Neil Rockind will appear with his client, Scott Richard Parker, this afternoon in Livingston County District Court for a conference, which had initially been set for Wednesday. He declined to comment Thursday on the nature of his request.

It is expected, however, that Rockind will seek a mental evaluation for his client, who is charged with four counts of making a threat of terrorism for tweeting a comment about “killing kids” on Twitter. The statement was tagged with Howell Public Schools’ @HowellMISchools, posting it to their Twitter feed.

“What I can tell you is things have happened to Scott that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” Rockind said. “He has suffered his whole life: The victim of a botched birth procedure, suffering limited emotional and psychological functioning, and as he got older, even worse things happened to him.

“While the phrase ‘diminished capacity’ has been watered down, it is perfectly appropriate for Scott.  Despite his age, Scott is a child,” the attorney added. “He has the developmental level of a child, along with a child’s IQ.  There is no place in the penal or legal system for him. I have long believed that the legal system protects people like Scott and have every expectation that it will do so again in this case.”’

Livingston County Prosecutor William Vailliencourt said at the arraignment that he would discuss the next step, which could include a psychiatry evaluation, with Parker’s attorney once hired.

Rockind said the defense understands the serious nature of the threat, but Parker “posed no threat of harm to anyone” and he believes others will see that as the case unfolds.

Parker, who is being held on a $750,000 bond, faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted as charged.

Authorities have not disclosed the full content of the tweet or what prompted it, but the prosecutor did say at Parker’s arraignment that the tweet involved four Howell-area schools.

The schools were not identified in open court, but the felony complaint filed by the prosecutor’s office lists administrators from Howell High School and the Howell High School Freshman Campus as well as Southwest Elementary School.

Parker’s mother, Denise Canelopoulos, has said her son has the mental capacity of a 6- or 7-year-old child. She said her son could not carry out any alleged threat because he has cerebral palsy, which has caused a deformity to his hand and feet, and he is unable to drive. He also has no access to weapons, she said.

“They got it all wrong. He’s not a terrorist,” Canelopoulos said. “He wouldn’t have followed through with it. … He had no intentions of ever hurting anyone. I don’t think he realized when he wrote whatever he did.”

via Livingston Daily

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Medical marijuana debate heats up in Warren

WARREN, Mich. – Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said he’s not against medical marijuana but he wants to protect the city’s neighborhoods from some of the negative things that come along with it.

When the issue was brought up Tuesday night at the City Council meeting, more than a dozen people stood up to say what this was a bad idea. They spoke in opposition of the mayor’s proposed medical marijuana ordinance.

Here’s what Fouts’s ordinance would require:

  • Medical marijuana to be grown and stored in a manufacturing district or on property occupied by a qualifying patient
  • It would require rooms with windows to be shielded from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Grow sites would have to register with the city’s building and safety inspections
  • There also must be a special ventilation system on the building to manage odors

Many residents who spoke Tuesday night said the mayor is playing politics. At least six attorneys spoke out against the mayor’s proposal.

Council members said they would discuss the issue more in committee meetings.

via Click on Detroit

Michigan Supreme Court Allows Grand Rapids Marijuana Law to Stand

(MPRN-Lansing) The Michigan Supreme Court has let stand an amendment to the Grand Rapids city charter that decriminalizes marijuana.

The amendment was approved by Grand Rapids voters in 2012. It makes possession of or sharing marijuana a civil infraction punishable by fines ranging from $25 to $100 with no jail time.

It also makes marijuana cases a low police priority, and forbids city law enforcement officials from referring marijuana cases to the Kent County prosecutor’s office.

That caught the attention of long-time Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth. He challenged the amendment as an illegal restriction on his power to enforce state drug laws, which continue to make marijuana possession a crime. He lost in the Kent County Circuit Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals, which ruled in January there was no direct contradiction of state law in the amendment.

Forsyth then took his appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. The appeal was rejected by the justices, which refused to take the case

“because we are not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.”

But Republican Justices Stephen Markman and David Viviano, dissented, saying the case belongs on the court’s docket.

“I would have granted the application because I believe this case presents an important constitutional question concerning whether a home rule city may, through its charter, encroach upon a county prosecutor’s broad power to enforce state law,”

wrote Viviano in the dissent. But Markman and Viviano were in the minority among the seven justices, so the Grand Rapids charter amendment remains valid.

via Western Michigan University Radio