Michigan Solicitor General office receives national best brief award


by Cynthia Price , Legal News, and from the office of the Attorney General

Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Tuesday that Michigan Attorney General’s Solicitor General Office has received the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Best Brief Award for 2012.  The award has been received for Michigan’s merits brief in Howes v. Fields.  

The winners were selected by a panel of eight independent Supreme Court experts, each of whom is a leading member of the Supreme Court bar.

Solicitor General John Bursch, Chief Legal Counsel Richard Bandstra, Deputy Solicitor General Eric Restuccia, and Assistant Attorney General Brian Neill were recognized by NAAG for their work on the brief.

 “As I’ve said many times, we have a great team and we have the best Solicitor General’s Office in America,” said Schuette, “This award is welcome recognition that the People of Michigan are being represented by outstanding legal minds.”

In Howes v. Fields (Carol Howes, Warden, Petitioner v. Randell Lee Fields) the United States Supreme Court reversed a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and reinstated the conviction of a defendant who sexually abused a child.  The defendant’s attorneys had persuaded the Sixth Circuit that his confession while in prison was inadmissible because he hadn’t received a Miranda warning.

Michigan persuaded the United States Supreme Court to reverse, with the Court, in a Feb. 2011 opinion, concluding that the police had acted properly in questioning the suspect.

Solicitor General John Bursch was appointed in early 2011 while an attorney at Warner Norcross and Judd. The Grand Rapids Legal News ran an article on Bursch at the time of his appointment, in the issue of March 9, 2011.