Daily Briefs

‘White Boy Rick’ gets June hearing before Michigan Parole Board

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Parole Board will hold a public hearing on whether to release a Detroit-area drug dealer who has been in prison for 29 years for crimes when he was a teen.

The board voted Friday to proceed to the hearing for Richard Wershe, who was known as “White Boy Rick.” The 47-year-old old, who was interviewed by the board chairman in February, is serving a life sentence with occasional opportunities for parole.

He was convicted of possessing more than 650 grams of cocaine. Wershe has helped the FBI investigate drugs and police corruption.

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy is taking a neutral position on paroling Wershe.

The public hearing is expected to be held in early June.


3rd Circuit Court to expand successful mediation program

Effective May 1, 2017, Third Judicial Circuit Court is expanding its mediation pilot program in which the aggregate claims evaluate for an amount of $25,000 or less.

Judge Patricia P. Fresard presides over the Civil Division and spearheaded the pilot in the Fall of 2016. The program has been successful in helping parties reach settlement without the use of judicial resources after case evaluation. The cases are ordered to mandatory mediation by the participating judges when they do not settle in their entirety after case evaluation.

Cases ordered to mediation under this plan will be referred to the Mediation Tribunal Association (MTA), which will select a mediator in random rotation from the list of court-approved general civil mediators and agencies. Additionally, the Wayne Mediation Center has been selected to provide mediation on a sliding-fee scale for those parties that qualify for a reduction or waiver of fees.

Mediation is often beneficial because:

1. About 65% of all mediations end in agreement, even when other attempts to settle have failed.

2. Cases mediated early may avoid additional litigation costs. Mediation may result in settlement far quicker than waiting until near trial to settle, and

3. Mediation provides a comfortable, safe, and respectful setting for discussion.

Judge Fresard and Judge Leslie Kim Smith were the first participating judges. With the expansion to the Business Court Judges, Judge Edward Ewell, Judge Lita M. Popke, and Business Court Presiding Judge Brian Sullivan joined the pilot. The program affords parties an opportunity to resolve their disputes in a less costly and more expeditiously way.

For more information, contact Lisa Timmons, the Director at the Mediation Tribunal Association at (313) 224-5606 or lisa.timmons@3rdcc.org.