Daily Briefs

Judge says Michigan can’t bar wine from out-of-state shops

DETROIT (AP) — Wine retailers outside Michigan are popping a cork over a major court ruling.

A federal judge says it’s unconstitutional to block out-of-state retailers from sending bottles to customers in Michigan. Judge Arthur Tarnow said Friday that Michigan is “operating an unjustifiable protectionist regime.”

The law was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2016 and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three wine drinkers and an Indiana company that operates stores, called Cap n’ Cork, in the Fort Wayne area. The judge rejected four arguments by Michigan, including a claim that out-of-state retailers might ship fake wine.

The National Association of Wine Retailers says it warned lawmakers that the law would be declared unconstitutional. The group says the ruling is a victory for consumers.


Appeal stops release of prisoner who won Supreme Court case

ADRIAN, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area man who won a Michigan Supreme Court case over a reduced sentence won’t be released while a judge hears from a murder victim’s family.

Matthew Makowski had been scheduled to leave prison Tuesday after nearly 30 years. But the release was suspended last week when Pete Puma’s relatives filed an appeal.

Makowski was convicted of murder in Puma’s death. He arranged for the Dearborn health club co-worker to be robbed, but he insists he didn’t know Puma’s attacker would have a knife. Makowski wasn’t present when Puma was stabbed.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm reduced Makowski’s no-parole sentence in 2010 but then changed her mind. The Supreme Court in 2014 said Granholm’s switch was illegal.

The parole board this year decided to release him, saying Makowski isn’t a threat.


Priest backs out of plea agreement in sex case, expected to face trial

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A 71-year-old Catholic priest in Michigan has backed out of a plea agreement in a criminal sexual conduct case and is expected to face trial.

Defense lawyer Alan Crawford tells WJRT-TV that Saginaw County Circuit Court Judge Darnell Jackson decided that the Rev. Robert DeLand should face a tougher sentence than one agreed to by prosecutors.

The Saginaw News reports the Saginaw County prosecutor’s office says DeLand withdrew the plea on Friday.

Prosecutors say DeLand would have been considered a sex offender, even if he didn’t go to prison. He pleaded no contest in September to criminal sexual conduct and six other charges. He was expected to serve a year in jail.

DeLand was pastor at St. Agnes Church in Freeland. The victims were three males.