Daily Briefs

U.S. Supreme Court denies man’s petition in wife’s slaying

BEULAH, Mich. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against a man’s efforts for a new trial after he was convicted of killing his wife by dragging her into a northern Michigan lake.

The court on Tuesday denied Mark Unger’s petition to review a lower court’s ruling.

Unger had argued that his rights were violated due to an ineffective trial lawyer. A federal appeals court last year rejected that claim, saying evidence against Unger was “overwhelming” and any failures by his lawyer were unlikely to affect the verdict in Benzie County.

Authorities have said Florence Unger of Huntington Woods was pushed in 2003 from a boathouse roof and dragged into Lower Herring Lake, where she drowned.

Unger’s lawyers argued that she accidentally fell and died from injuries. She was seeking a divorce.


Program allows monthly  property tax payments in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) — Some homeowners in Detroit can set aside money each month toward their summer and winter tax bills instead of having to fork over the total amount at one time.

Under the city’s new Plan Ahead program, homeowners without mortgage escrow accounts for property tax payments can make payments at their own schedules at DivDat kiosks located throughout Detroit. There also is a DivDat mobile app.

Payments are made into a savings account that helps people manage their property tax payments. The program is available at no charge, although credit card processing fees will apply to those who make payments using credit cards.
Taxpayers with homes or rental units who pay their own taxes directly are eligible to participate. They must have paid all of their 2018 city property taxes.


City Council passes renter criminal background ordinance

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit City Council has passed a policy preventing renters from being asked about criminal backgrounds until landlords have determined they qualify under all other phases of the rental application process.

The Fair Chance Housing Ordinance covers everything from apartment complexes to single-family homes. Landlords with portfolios of fewer than five units are exempt.

The ordinance says landlords may investigate criminal history once a person qualifies to rent. Housing may be denied for crimes relevant to the safety of people or property.

Landlords who want to deny housing based on criminal history must allow the applicant to provide evidence of rehabilitation that would show they are a good candidate despite their criminal record.

Applicants who believe they have been discriminated against under the ordinance can file complaints with the city.