Daily Briefs . . .

Detroit man cleared of attempted murder in shooting of judge

DETROIT (AP) — A man accused of shooting a federal judge outside a Detroit house has been acquitted of attempted murder.

Judge Terrence Berg was shot in the leg in March 2015 while retrieving his trash can and refusing to allow thieves into his home. He offered many details at trial but couldn’t identify Kevin Andre Smith Jr. as the gunman.

The 23-year-old Smith denied shooting the judge. A jury on Tuesday convicted Smith of charges related to other robberies in Detroit.

Berg’s shooting appeared to be random and not related to his job as a judge. He was a prosecutor for more than 20 years before his appointment to the federal bench in 2012. He works at the courthouse in Flint.


MAJ announces staff updates

The Michigan Association of Justice (MAJ) on Tuesday announced the promotion of Director of Communications Stephen V. Pontoni to executive director and named Nathan S. Pilon the organization’s new director of communications, both effective immediately.

Pontoni will take the reins from Jane R. Bailey, who recently retired after leading the MAJ, formerly the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, beginning in 1990. Bailey started with the organization in 1987 as MAJ’s PAC coordinator. Bailey was instrumental in building a strong and fiscally stable organization, as well as making MAJ an influential and respected organization in Lansing. She was known for developing productive relationships with lawmakers from both parties. 

Pontoni will manage the overall operations of the association including budget, staffing, membership, as well as coordinating and implementing legislative and public policy strategic initiatives. As Director of Communications, he revitalized and redesigned the association’s social media accounts, website and Journal, and established new member email communications to utilize the latest technology. Before joining MAJ in 2013, Pontoni served as Campaign Director for America Votes. He has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Michigan.
Pilon has been charged with developing public relations, marketing, membership communications, web, and social media strategies. Before joining MAJ, he began a 10-year career at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in 2005, most recently serving as Communications Director. He was a Senior Communications Specialist on the House Democratic Central Staff in the Michigan House of Representatives and a Communications Representative for the Michigan State Medical Society. Pilon has a bachelor’s in English from Western Michigan University.


FBA to host seminar ‘ADR in Pro Bono Cases’ May 31 in Detroit

The FBA is sponsoring a seminar from 1-5 p.m. Tuesday, May 31 on Alternative Dispute Resolution in pro bono cases. It will be held in the Detroit Room of the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse. For details, contact John Sier at john.sier@kitch.com or Marty Reisig at mireisig@aol.com.

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