Daily Briefs

Lawsuit challenges Michigan driver’s license suspensions

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — The state of Michigan is being sued in a bid to restore the driver’s licenses of people who say they can’t afford to pay traffic fines.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court says the secretary of state is running a “wealth-based” scheme in which people too poor to pay fines are having their licenses suspended. The lawsuit says a traffic violation can cause a “downward spiral” of lost opportunities for jobs and education.

The lawsuit says the secretary of state doesn’t distinguish between people who are intentionally skipping fines and others who can’t pay. Kitia Harris, a 25-year-old Detroit woman, says her license was suspended when she couldn’t afford a $150 ticket in Ferndale.

The lawsuit was filed by Equal Justice Under Law, a civil rights group. An email seeking comment was sent to the secretary of state.


Deadline for A. Kay Stansfield Spinks Law Student Scholarship program is May 26

The application deadline for the D. Augustus Straker Bar Foundation’s A. Kay Stanfield Spinks Law Student Scholarship is Friday, May 26. The Straker Foundation awards scholarships for African American students seeking financial assistance in the pursuit of a degree in law. There will be one or more scholarships awarded at the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association’s Annual Trailblazers Award and Scholarship Dinner, on June 8 at the Westin Hotel in Southfield. The first scholarships were presented at the 1999 Trailblazer’s Dinner. Since that time, the Straker Bar Association has awarded more $100,000 to law students.

The A. Kay Stanfield Spinks Law Student Scholarship encourages law students to excel in their legal studies, with the ultimate goal of increasing African American representation within the practice of law. The program is also a fitting way to honor the memory of D. Augustus Straker, who in 1890 became the first African American attorney to argue a case before the Michigan Supreme Court and A. Kay Stanfield Spinks, for founding the Straker Foundation and the establishment of the scholarship award.

To qualify for the Straker Scholarship, applicants must be enrolled in an ABA certified law school program and entering their second or third year of law school in the fall of 2016. An application form should be completed and submitted to the email address of Mr. Aaron V. Burrell at ABurrell@dickinsonwright.com not later than Friday, May 26, 2017. Students may contact their respective Law School Deans of Student Services or go to the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association’s website at http://www.strakerlaw.org to download an application.

Successful applicants must demonstrate scholarly dedication, be involved in school and community activities and be able to clearly articulate a vision which indicates prospects for long-term success in the practice of law in the State of Michigan, especially as it relates to representing people of color within the legal system.


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