Daily Briefs

Michigan Supreme Court lets local court cost scheme stand

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the controversial practice of charging people for the costs of running local courts all over the state.

Critics call it an illegal tax on people convicted of crimes, mostly the poor who can't afford it. The Supreme Court released a brief order Wednesday, saying a 2017 appeals court decision will stand.

The case involved a man who was convicted of assault and ordered to pay $1,611 in Washtenaw County. Courts can consider staff salaries, maintenance costs and services necessary to operate a court. About $80 million was collected statewide in 2016 and 2017, mostly in District Courts.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says the current system will “limp forward,” at least until the law expires in October 2020 and lawmakers are forced to do something.

In April, a commission said the system is “broken.”

Financial advice columnist Malcolm Berko dies shorty after ending column

Financial columnist Malcolm Berko, whose column appeared in the Detroit Legal News for many years, has passed away in Florida.

His column, “Taking Stock,” which often railed against modern life and politics as much as it doled out financial advice, was extremely popular with readers.

Berko’s column was most recently distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication, after being with Creators Syndicate for some time.
According to Creators, Berko was also a published poet and nature photographer.

Berko had recently stopped writing the column.

His parting line to LVB readers was “Be an optimist, not a pessimist; you’ll get invited to more parties.”

His current syndicator indicated that he died June 13.

Mauer of Sentencing Project to speak on ending perpetual punishment July 12

This event is presented by the American Friends Service Committee and the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne Law, and will be held from 7-9 p.m. Friday, July 12 at Wayne Law in the Spencer M. Partrich Auditorium, 471 W. Palmer in Detroit. Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, recently published a book titled, “The Meaning of Life: The Case of Abolishing Life Sentences” and will be speaking on ending the perpetual punishment of America’s prisoners.The lecture is free to attend and the community is welcome. For more information  contact Jaime Nelson at (269) 806-7204 or fw7903@wayne.edu.