courts

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, we dive into how the state is trying to help underpaid and overworked court-appointed attorneys. Plus a former employee of the Traverse City State Hospital reflects on 30 years on the job.

Aaron Selbig / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Former Kingsley Middle School Principal Karl Hartman is facing eight criminal charges, following his second preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Hartman was a teacher and principal at Kingsley schools for over 30 years.

 

In January, he resigned after former students accused him of sexual assault and allegedly giving them alcohol as minors.

 

Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Atwood says his office dropped three charges Tuesday after one of the victims decided to leave the case.

 

Michigan House of Representatives

State Rep. Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg) is accused of extortion, soliciting a bribe and lying to the FBI. He has plead not guilty to all charges.

The trial is set for August 6 in Grand Rapids.

Prosecutors say Inman texted a lobbyist from the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights (MRCCM) in June 2018 and offered to vote ‘no’ on a prevailing wage bill if MRCCM and other trade unions would donate more to his campaign.

Aaron Selbig

The State of Michigan Court of Appeals says Traverse City Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power showed “extreme bias.”

Last year Power sentenced Samantha Lynn Hughes to 13 to 24 months in prison for methamphetamine use. Hughes was pregnant at the time, and the sentence would have kept her in prison for the birth of her child.

“Thinking about [Hughes] versus the unborn child I think I know whose side I’m on,” Power said.

In their decision, the Court of Appeals said that sentence was unfair.

Courtesty of Theresa Schurman

Last year, two people were shot and killed in Michigan while deer hunting. One of the victims, Justin Beutel, was hunting on family property near Torch Lake. 

It was Nov. 15, opening day of firearm deer hunting season, when another hunter shot Beutel from about 50 yards away. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources investigated the case. 

“We would classify it as an accident at this point,” says Lt. Jim Gorno, a DNR conservation officer.

BAY VIEW CHAUTAUQUA INCLUSIVENESS GROUP

Bay View Association, a summer resort community in Petoskey, has been under fire for alleged housing discrimination. A group of homeowners has filed two lawsuit against the association, claiming it is violating housing discrimination laws by requiring homeowners to practice a particular religion. They filed their second lawsuit last week.

The first suit

CREDIT SKEEZE/PIXABAY

The man responsible for shooting another hunter near Torch Lake has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. David Michael Barber of Gaylord was arraigned in court Friday.

Max Johnston

Medication-assisted treatment is increasingly cited as a way to curb the opioid epidemic. However, only 23 percent of publicly funded treatment programs offer it, according to the Pew Research Center.

Brauker gets year in prison for homeless assault

Mar 1, 2017
Aaron Selbig

A judge sentenced a Traverse City man to one year in prison for assaulting a homeless man last July.

For the first time since his arrest, 19-year-old Maayingan Brauker admitted to the crime at his sentencing hearing in 86th District Court Tuesday. 

Traverse City Record-Eagle

Earlier this month, the Traverse City Record-Eagle published a story called “Race Against Time," which told the tale of Ronald Norfleet, an African-American man from Detroit who was sentenced to 56 years in prison for dealing heroin in Grand Traverse County.

Peter Payette

Hate crime laws, with their roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, were originally intended to protect people from violence based on their race or religion.

State appeals extortion case against TC resort owner

Nov 29, 2016
Aaron Selbig

An extortion case against a Traverse City resort owner is headed back to court. The Michigan Attorney General’s office says Bryan Punturo used threats to convince a competitor to pay him $19,000 a year.

In their first court case, state prosecutors said Punturo threatened competing parasailing operator Saburi Boyer. Punturo said he would “crush” and “bury” Boyer if he wasn’t paid. But 86th District Court Judge Thomas Phillips said that while Punturo’s behavior was “reprehensible,” it wasn’t illegal.

Aaron Selbig

If you’ve spent a summer day on the beaches of Grand Traverse Bay, you’ve probably seen parasailers soaring across the sky. Parasailing is a popular, fun way to get out on the water, but the Traverse City parasailing business also has a cutthroat side.

Aaron Selbig

A district court judge has thrown out extortion charges against a Traverse City resort owner. Judge Thomas Phillips says the Michigan Attorney General’s Office failed to make its case that 58-year-old Bryan Punturo committed a crime.

State prosecutors alleged Punturo, owner of the ParkShore Resort on East Grand Traverse Bay, threatened the owner of a competing parasailing business. Puntoro allegedly convinced the victim, Saburi Boyer, to pay him $19,000 a year in exchange for not forcing him out of business.

Grand Traverse County

Judge Philip Rodgers announced his retirement from the 13th Circuit Court this week. Rodgers presided over many big cases in northern Michigan, including the fight over a nine-story building in Traverse City.

In a letter announcing his retirement, Rodgers thanked the attorneys he's worked with over the years, calling them “the most interesting and humorous people in the world.”

Village of Kalkaska

The Michigan Supreme Court says Kalkaska Village will have to pay nearly $200,000 to a former employee.

Former clerk Virginia Thomas sued when the village council stopped paying her health benefits in 2014. Thomas said a 20-year-old letter promised lifetime health benefits for her and three other employees. A jury and the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in Thomas’s favor, and the state Supreme Court upheld those rulings this week.

Aaron Selbig

Grand Traverse County Commissioner Christine Maxbauer was sentenced Monday to a year of probation for drunk driving.

Maxbauer pleaded guilty to the charge. She said she drank a bottle of wine at home July 7th before driving to her sister’s house because of a family emergency.

Maxbauer was arrested by Traverse City police after she hit a parked car on Front Street. Police measured her blood-alcohol content at 0.16 percent – twice the legal limit.

In court, she apologized for what she called “poor judgment.”

Aaron Selbig

An extortion case against a Traverse City resort owner may not go to trial. Yesterday, Judge Thomas Phillips said he’s not convinced that accusations against the owner of Park Shore Resort amount to extortion.

Prosecutors say Bryan Punturo threatened a competing parasailing business,  saying he would put them out of business if he wasn’t paid $19,000 a year. They say Punturo made statements that he would “crush” or “bury” the victim’s business.

State’s attorney Matthew Payok said Punturo’s threatening statements were caught on email and voicemail.

U.S. COAST GUARD AIR STATION TRAVERSE CITY

It will be harder to throw a huge party on the Torch Lake sandbar in the future. Last Fourth of July, the Sandbar Bash drew around 10,000 people. That party prompted a lawsuit from the Torch Lake Protection Alliance, a group working to preserve the lake.

Yesterday, Judge George J. Mertz of Kalkaska Circuit Court ruled in favor of the TLPA's lawsuit which said the Sandbar Bash violated safety, environmental and zoning laws. 

Traverse City resort owner charged with extortion

May 10, 2016
Michigan Attorney General's office

The Michigan Attorney General’s office has accused a Traverse City resort owner of extortion. 

Attorney General Bill Schuette says 58-year-old Bryan Punturo, owner of the ParkShore resort, threatened the owners of a competing parasailing business on Grand Traverse Bay. Puntoro allegedly convinced the victim to pay him in exchange for not forcing the victim out of business.

Attorney Brace Kern represents the alleged victim – Saburi Boyer – in an ongoing civil case.

The Woda Group

 A judge has ruled that Traverse City commissioners should not have approved a Special Land Use Permit for a nine-story building development downtown. Grand Traverse County Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers vacated the permit on Thursday.

Rodgers said the city commission did not gather information legally required for the permit before they approved the development.

Derek Bailey went on trial in Leelanau County today for charges of five counts of criminal sexual conduct.

In opening arguments, Douglas Donaldson, Leelanau County's chief assistant prosecuting attorney, said his case rests heavily on testimony from the two victims and Bailey's relatives. He also noted that while a search of electronic devices did not produce any evidence of criminal sexual conduct as law enforcement suspected, he does have evidence that one device was deleted or reprogrammed the day it was taken.

Department of Natural Resources

A federal judge has dismissed a suit by Native American individuals who are fighting the loss of public land they've hunted and fished on for centuries. Judge Maloney says only tribes can sue, not individual Native Americans, according to an 1836 treaty. The treaty gives tribes the right to harvest natural resources from public land.

Michigan Women's Hall of Fame

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver passed away Tuesday night at her home in Glen Arbor. She was 74. Weaver served on the state’s highest court for 15 years, until her resignation in 2010.

Weaver came to Leelanau County from her native New Orleans shortly after receiving her law degree from Tulane University.

In a 2005 interview with IPR, she talked about settling in Glen Arbor.

Ingersoll found guilty of tax fraud

Mar 10, 2015
Peter Payette

Grand Traverse Academy founder Steven Ingersoll has been found guilty of tax fraud. A federal jury acquitted Ingersoll of wire fraud – a charge that carries a more severe penalty. Ingersoll evaded taxes by moving money between business and personal bank accounts.

MLive reporter Cole Waterman has been following the trial in Bay City for a month. He says Ingersoll and the other defendants heard the verdict at about 12:30 Tuesday afternoon.

"None of the defendants seemed to react in any overt way," said Waterman. "They were all pretty stoic.”

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