Daily Briefs

Court rips judge for sending man to prison for not paying

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court is criticizing an Oakland County judge for sending a 70-year-old man to prison after he insisted he was too poor to make consistent payments to a crime victim.

In a 2-1 decision, the court said Judge Martha Anderson failed a key step: She yanked Ghazi Marji's probation and sent him to prison in 2015 without trying to confirm that he was truthful about his weak finances. Marji, a former trucker, was 70 at the time.

The appeals court says the prosecutor and probation department never presented firm facts about Marji’s assets. Judge Elizabeth Gleicher says prosecutors need more than “smoke and mirrors” to lock up someone.

Marji had paid $8,000 toward $23,000 owed to an assault victim. He spent a year in prison.


Mandel receives  ‘Excellence in Defense Award’ from Michigan Defense Trial Counsel

Attorney Scott Mandel, a co-leader of the Litigation Practice Group at Foster Swift, is the 2017 recipient of the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel’s prestigious “Excellence in Defense Award,” established in 1992 to honor those who have promoted the practice of the defense bar and the representation of their clients through professionalism and advocacy beyond their normal roles as an advocate.

The award was presented to Mandel at the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel’s First Annual Legal Excellence Awards on March 9 at the Detroit Historical Museum.

Mandel has tried approximately 100 cases in state and federal courts and before agencies including the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Financial & Insurance Services and the Bureau of Health Services.

A past board member of the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, he has served as president of the Ingham County Bar Association and also served on the Steering Committee for the Hillman Advocacy Program and as a member of the Tri-County Pro Bono Project Board of Directors.

He is a graduate of Michigan State University and a cum laude graduate of Wayne State University.


SBM Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee: Annual Brunch for Bars

Join fellow affinity bar leaders in Detroit to share information, discuss common ideas, and foster collaboration among diverse groups. The brunch will be held from 10:15 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, April 9 at Fort Shelby Double Tree, 525 West Lafayette Blvd. in Detroit. Seating for this free event is limited so register now. R.S.V.P. to www.surveymonkey.com/r/sbmbrunchforbars. For more information, contact Michelle Erskine at (517) 346-6316 or merskine@mail.michbarorg.