ACLU Urges Detroit To End Illegal Practice of ‘Dumping’ Homeless People Outside City Limits, Files DOJ Complaint

ACLU Urges Detroit To End Illegal Practice of ‘Dumping’ Homeless People Outside City Limits, Files DOJ Complaint

The news that the Detroit Police Department is removing homeless people and dumping them outside the city limits of the City of Detroit brought back old memories of the 1980’s in Flint.

Before I recount my experiences as a young lawyer suing the City of Flint and its leaders way back in the 1980’s for the same thing, I need to bring you up to date on what is happening in Detroit these days. The ACLU reported in their daily news blast that they are investigating numerous reports of kidnapping and false imprisonment by Detroit Police of indigent homeless people who are being removed from the streets of Greektown and other happening places in Detroit. To watch video of some of the men telling their stories, go to http://www.aclumich.org/issues/homeless/2013-04/1831

It was not so long ago that the Flint Police Department engaged in this same conduct. It resulted in criminal convictions of several police officers and large settlements for civil rights violations.

Back in the mid-1980’s Flint tried to turn its economy around by building a tourist attraction near downtown. The area was well known to be full of prostitutes and johns looking for hookups. AutoWorld as it was known was built not far from this former red light district that was full of street walkers

These undesirable women were the bane of City Fathers who felt they would ruin the image of the city to tourists. So these leaders conspired to violate the civil rights of numerous women by ordering their removal from the streets of Flint. The idea of course was to discourage them from hanging out at the gates of the Six Flags Theme Park.

In the case of my client, she was a student not a streetwalker. She just happened to live a few houses from where she was abducted by the City of Flint Police as she was walking to her home. She was taken away in the nighttime to the suburban countryside of Genesee Township several miles from the near downtown area.

The results were disastrous for the city. This bad behavior by police left a black mark on the City of Flint Police Department’s reputation. It is hard to imagine what a sworn command officer is thinking when they come up with such ideas.

Seriously, in the United States of America the police are the police really going to get away with forcibly relocating Michigan citizens as has happened in Flint and Detroit just as if they were in the former USSR taking people away to work camps in Siberia? What could possibly give rise to such abusive and irrational behavior and policies by police officers?

What the hell is next? I bet the cops up at Bellaire, Michigan would like to take filmmaker Michael Moore away to the deep woods of the UP a little further from the bright lights of Traverse City where he causes so much uproar speaking his mind and attracting the ire of the NRA gun huggers.

Back to Flint, attorneys Robert Segar, the late Judge Kenneth M. Siegle and myself brought a successful lawsuit against the City of Flint and deposed its Mayor, Police Chief and top police command officers about their actions. As you would expect they all pointed the finger at each other and did not accept responsibility for what clearly was a stupid decision made at the top. The officers involved admitted that they were directed to remove what they thought were prostitutes from the AutoWorld area but denied beating them up. A jury disagreed.

A Flint jury found several of these officers guilty of attempted battery in a compromise verdict. They were represented by the very able and flamboyant Pontiac attorney Elbert Hatchet of Pontiac who arrived each day for trial in a big fancy limousine. That spoke volumes about empathy for the poor victims of the police he represented. I like Elbert Hatchet but never understood his insensitivity to the poor of Flint during that trial.

The county prosecutor at the time was Robert E. Weiss. He was a right-wing zealot who was afraid to challenge the police. Rather than charge the officers with a felony of neglect of duty or felony kidnapping he opted to charge a misdemeanor and of course left the jury with little room to debate. I always thought that decision was very wrong and it was one of the many reasons I ran against him and defeated him. Weiss’s charge sent the wrong message to the police. It signaled that abuse of the poor was just a little bit wrong rather than entirely unacceptable.

A person who is sworn to uphold the law and engages in violent criminal conduct and then covers it up should not be treated in a political fashion. That person needs the full force of the law to face them in order to make an example to the public.

Felony charges, especially against police wrongdoers sends a serious and unmistakable message that the system does not tolerate police who become rouge. Police behavior as seen in Flint in this case and now alleged in Detroit essentially hijacks our justice system.

What if those cops went to the large banks in Detroit and pulled that same stunt to the CEO’s of the auto companies who are hanging out at Starbucks or at the fountain at Hart Plaza? What if the cops simply said to the businessmen we don’t want you around here anymore hauling them off to Livingston County or Ionia? Then what happens?

Of course heads would roll and prosecutions of cops for a laundry list of felony offenses would be issued. This is precisely why those in the Detroit Police Department should now be investigated for criminal misconduct and neglect of duty and prosecuted if the evidence supports it as the ACLU seems to suggest in its news blast.

I am not betting that anyone in the City of Detroit under the new Emergency Manager is going to uphold the rights of the poorest among us.

The better question is will the Wayne County Prosecutor stand up for the poor? I wonder if the Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy would put the same amount of energy into this case as she did the sex scandal of the former Mayor. She should and never give it a second thought. I think Prosecutor Worthy is an honorable woman with a deep respect for justice and it would not surprise me to see her take a strong position on this matter. She ought to at least acknowledge her office is looking into these appalling allegations.

In reality, police kidnappings and false imprisonment are far more important laws to uphold and essential to our collective freedom than a disgraced former Mayor lying about having sex with an aide. The Wayne County Prosecutor should be leading this investigation not the ACLU.

Not to engage these allegations is to allow Detroit to slowly slip into a totalitarian state where the government decides where you live, where you sleep and where you eat. That is wrong and un-American and I can think of nothing more important for the Detroit officials to do but to uphold the rule of law. We all have a stake in the good work of the Department of Justice investigators and the Wayne County Prosecutor.

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Republicans Block Judicial Nominee Because She Sued Gun Manufacturers

Caitlin Halligan had one major fault in the eyes of the minority party in the United States Senate. She worked on lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association didn’t like her.

Caitlin was nominated twice by President Obama to serve as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

She was by all accounts highly qualified for the job. Halligan serves as general counsel in the Manhattan district attorney’s office and served as solicitor general for New York state.

That means she was the top lawyer representing the state of New York before its highest court. Last I checked that is one of the biggest states in the nation.

It appears that the Republicans are setting a new standard for judicial appointees. That standard has nothing to do with qualifications, personal integrity or professionalism it has to do with which business or interest group donates and supports your party.

Justice in America suffers from such corruption. In days past the minority party accepted that the President has a right to appoint judicial nominees who are competent and reflect his vision and philosophy. No longer is it the case that the court can be considered truly non-partisan if this is the way things are going in the future.

Appointment of Judges should be not subject to the Senate filibuster rules. In order to be appointed today a person needs 60 votes in the U.S. Senate. This rule encourages corrupt practices and influences. The NRA is an interest group representing gun manufacturers. Seems to me that taking that into account should pretty much discount entirely their opinion given they are on the other side of the law in a potential or active litigation with Mrs. Halligan’s client.

Its my view a criminal investigation needs to begin by the Department of Justice into whether or not the votes or actions of Republican Senators are tied to contributions made by the gun lobby and particularly the NRA. Buying votes is illegal. Buying votes to stop lawsuits is even more corrupting of our judicial system. Political retaliation such is obvious in the Halligan case could amount to obstruction of justice.

There is too little notice of the sly and slick quid pro quo deals involving votes in Congress for huge contributions by business organizations today. To an ordinary citizen like me it is all too obvious something is afoot.

I would like to see a grand jury look into this case to decide what business people and their lobbyists, who have a pending investigation against them, said to Senators who considered this nomination. Are they trying to obstruct justice by punishing a highly qualified woman seeking a seat on a very important court? Her only sin was doing her job as any lawyer would. That should not disqualify her from confirmation and holding judicial office.

Long Way to Bloggerville!!

ImageIt has been a long journey for this website.  WWW.ARTBUSCH.COM has been through a journey from the late 1990’s when it was created by former Genesee County Sheriff Ives Potrofka and then later updated about 2005 by Brendan Chard of the Modern Firm.  I owe both of these men a debt of gratitude for the good advice and outstanding work they did on my behalf.  

 
I first used this website as a political tool to support my work as the Genesee County Prosecutor.  I used it in my campaigns and to communicate with supporters about my activities and accomplishments. 
 
My last run for pubic office was in 2000 so after that the site was used mostly to tell folks about my work in the Prosecutors Office.  This site has been paid for privately and from my own funds and not government monies or some rich donor.
 
In 2005 I retired from the Prosecutor’s Office and turned the site into a law firm website to support my law practice.  It was in 2005 that I met Brendan Chard and he then put the site on a modern footing updating it.  Since that time it has been a popular site and highly ranked on Google Search Engines.  
 
However, late last year I decided it was time for me to use this site and to put it up on yet a more modern platform and chose Network Solutions to help me do so.  The staff there was wonderful and they helped me where I had a few questions.  
 
What I am really saying is that I learned how to do this web development myself!  Amazing.  I was always interested in learning how to do it but just never gave it the time.  What an exciting adventure.  I even developed a mobile website that is now up and launched to support my law practice.   
 
So after three redesigns and platform updates this site still stands and grows.  In one week we had 500 visitors and I have yet to promote it.  
 
So just what will become of my efforts?  
 
Some of you might remember way back in the late 1990’s I was the first to blog about local politics by using E-Mail and sending it to my list of supporters.  I remember the Flint Journal writing about.  They of course were rather negative because I wrote a piece on Woodrow Stanley and how I thought he might be one of the most unpopular politicians in Genesee County.  Of course I was right at that time!  He got recalled not long afterward.  He has remarkably made a political comeback.  Sorta ….he lost the election for the State Senate last night to a fine young State Representative James Ananick.  Hopefully Jim will win the General Election and fight his best to bring work to the Flint area.
 
This will not be a political blog however as I envision it.  I want to talk about the law and local courts and administration of justice in Michigan and our communities in Southeastern Michigan.  We will post interviews here with professionals involved in the justice system.  I want to make the blog brutally honest, interesting and real.  
 
Because this is a site that is devoted to my new law firm (which has just recently relocated to Grand Blanc and Bloomfield Hills, Michigan),  I hope to discuss the changes in laws, court decisions and how the laws that were passed are working in our region.  
 
Lastly, I want very much to interact with you the public and my clients about the issues, policy and the players who bring us justice everyday.  So let it all begin and hopefully like my Facebook site we will share information and points of view.
 
Thanks to all of you who have supported my law practice which generates the funds to do this work and to all those who involved themselves in my political campaigns and efforts.  The best is yet to come!   
 
Regards,
 
Arthur

Even Handed Justice

Taking his seat in his chambers, the judge faced the opposing lawyers.

“So,” he said, “I have been presented, by both of you, with a bribe.”

Both lawyers squirmed uncomfortably. “You, attorney Leon, gave me $15,000. And you, attorney Campos, gave me $10,000.”

The judge reached into his pocket and pulled out a check. He handed it to Leon. “Now then, I’m returning $5,000, and we’re going to decide this case solely on its merits!”

Right to a Lawyer Can Be An Empty Promise to the Poor.

Right to a Lawyer Can Be An Empty Promise to the Poor.

This article was published in the New York Times today.  It describes what has become a serious problem in America, namely the lack of access or the ability to defend in American courts.