Daily Briefs . . .

Convictions stand in 1987 murders of woman, husband by kin

PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The state appeals court won't upset the conviction of a western Michigan man who was charged with killing his sister and brother-in-law, 26 years after their deaths.

The star witness at trial was Ryan Wyngarden's wife, who told Ottawa County jurors that he immediately admitted his role in the fatal shootings back in 1987. She even saw the bodies at the Park Township home but says she remained silent for decades because Wyngarden had threatened her.

Wyngarden was charged in 2013 and convicted of first-degree murder. He's serving a no-parole sentence.
The appeals court said Wednesday it found no errors in Wyngarden's trial that would justify a reversal of the verdicts. The victims were Gail and Rick Brinks.


Newspaper wins appeal over federal mug shots

DETROIT (AP) — The government must release mug shots of federal criminal defendants in Michigan and three other states, an appeals panel said Wednesday in a clash over privacy and public records.

A three-judge panel at a federal appeals court said it must follow a 1996 decision that released photos to the Detroit Free Press in a similar dispute. Nonetheless, it also encouraged the U.S. Justice Department to keep fighting.

The panel suggested the government should ask the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to take a new look at the 1996 precedent, especially in the Internet age.

“We question the ... conclusion that defendants have no interest in preventing the public release of their booking photographs during ongoing criminal proceedings,” said judges Ralph Guy Jr., Deborah Cook and David McKeague.

The federal Freedom of Information Act says the government can reject a records request if the material could “constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy.”

“Booking photographs convey the sort of potentially embarrassing or harmful information protected by the exemption,” the court said.

The Free Press sued in 2013 after the U.S. Marshals Service declined to release photos of police officers charged with corruption. The newspaper argued that the public has a legitimate interest in seeing who has been charged with a crime. It cited the ‘96 decision.

The Marshals Service stopped releasing photos to news media in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky — the states covered by the 6th Circuit — in 2012. The government cited privacy and felt emboldened by federal appeals courts elsewhere in the U.S. that had ruled against the release of mug shots in those regions.


LAD to conduct free clinic in Sept. 15

Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. (LAD) will conduct a free outreach clinic on civil legal services for income-eligible residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, including the city of Detroit, Tuesday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to noon at Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency, 196 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Pontiac.
For further information, contact Stacey Felde at (248) 253-1548, ext. 4005.