Daily Briefs

Court throws out teen’s conviction tied to Snapchat

BESSEMER, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has thrown out the conviction of an Upper Peninsula teenager who used social media to fantasize about killing a boy, his dog and his goldfish.

The messages between four girls were made on Snapchat. The messages never were sent to the boy and he never read them. The girls believed they were private. But a Juvenile Court jury in Gogebic County convicted a girl, identified as J.P., of using text messages to terrorize another person.

The appeals court overturned the conviction Tuesday, saying there was no evidence that the teens actually intended to frighten the boy. Judge Elizabeth Gleicher says teens “sometimes make poor judgments” due to an inability to “foresee the painful consequences of their actions.”

The girls didn’t like the 13-year-old boy and said he was a bully.


Varnum attorney  named to Leadership Detroit Class XLI

Varnum attorney Steve Cappellino has been accepted into Leadership Detroit Class XLI, a 10-month community leadership program designed to challenge participants to bring about positive change.

Cappellino is a partner on Varnum’s Tax and Corporate Practice Teams. He has substantial experience in federal, state and local taxation, in both planning and controversy. He formerly held positions at both a large international accounting firm and the IRS Office of Chief Counsel.

Now in its 41st year, Leadership Detroit aims to create awareness of key issues that affect the Detroit region as well as to challenge emerging and existing community leaders to bring about positive change in the community through informed leadership. The program is led by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Leadership Detroit kicks off with a two-day orientation retreat in September followed by 10 one- and two-day sessions through June 2020. Among the topics covered are economic prosperity, educational preparedness, race and diversity, arts and culture, and health and human services.


Former U.S. college football player home from prison in China

DETROIT (AP) — A former college football player who spent three years in prison in China for his involvement in a bar fight says he has a newfound appreciation for the word freedom now that he’s returned home to Detroit.

Wendell Brown, who played at Ball State University in Indiana, told The Associated Press after arriving back in Detroit on Wednesday that people don’t really understand the meaning of freedom until they lose it.
Brown was teaching English and American football in southwest China when he was arrested in September 2016 and charged with intentional assault. Brown denied hitting a man and said he was defending himself after being attacked.

Brown was sentenced to four years in prison, but that was reduced to three years by a Chinese court.