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CDAM to present Right to Counsel Award on March 13

The Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM) has selected Lisa Kirsch Satawa of Birmingham and James R. Samuels of Big Rapids as recipients of its Right to Counsel Award.

The honor recognizes the significant contributions of individuals in the form of legal representation or other extraordinary service.

Said CDAM President Elizabeth A. LaCossea: “More than 15 years ago, Jim and Lisa saw a void in training for young defense attorneys. They put their heads and experience together as well as countless hours of their personal time to create and implement a training program called ‘A is for Attorney.’ This program has impacted hundreds of attorneys across the state. 

“This dedication and leadership is why they earned a State Bar of Michigan award as well as the respect and accolades of CDAM. We are honored to express our appreciation and esteem for these amazing attorneys.”

CDAM’s Annual Dinner and Awards Banquet is set for Friday, March 13, at the Auburn Hills Marriott, Centerpoint Parkway.

The cocktail reception begins at 6:15 p.m. with dinner at 7. For those interested in attending, visit www.CDAMonline.org.

Tickets are $75 per person. For additional information, contact CDAM at 517.579.0533.


Man who swam to U.S. from Canada to deliver books is released

DETROIT (AP) — A man who said he swam across the Detroit River from Canada to try to deliver handmade boouesday after two months in U.S. custody.

Christopher Sagajllo, 56, was arrested in December after crossing the river in a wetsuit and landing at a steel company's property on Zug Island, just south of Detroit.

U.S. District Judge Linda Parker sentenced Sagajllo to time served, clearing his return to St. Catherines, Ontario, where the British native is a permanent Canadian resident.

“He is not a dangerous individual,” defense attorney Benton Martin said.

Sagajllo, 56, declined to speak in court. But he explained in a letter why he chose a risky way to get into the U.S.

Sagajllo said he was desperate after being turned away days earlier at the border in Niagara Falls, New York. U.S. authorities said he was ineligible because he had been deported to the United Kingdom in 2010 after overstaying a visit by seven years.

Sagajllo said he had followed his religious faith and made books in silk bags.

“Four of the recipients were in the United States, and I believed they needed to be delivered before Christmas. ... I believed I needed to swim across. I felt that if I did not do what was, I believe, required of me, that something terrible would happen to me in the future," he wrote.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Fairchild said the government had no objection to returning Sagajllo to Canada after weeks in custody.

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