Daily Briefs

Man who had to remove prosthetic leg in jail loses lawsuit

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) — A man who claimed his rights were violated when he was forced to remove his prosthetic leg in jail has lost a lawsuit against an Upper Peninsula county.

Ralph Keller's meals were delivered to him, and he was allowed to use a wheelchair outside his cell at the Chippewa County jail, a federal appeals court said.

"After giving up his prosthesis, Keller asked the deputies, 'How am I going to get around?'" the court said Monday, summarizing the evidence. "According to Keller, a deputy responded, 'hop around or crawl.'
Despite this callous remark, Keller was not, in fact, always required to get around on his own."

The sheriff's office said Keller had to remove his leg because it could be used as a weapon. He was released on his fourth day in custody in January 2016.

Keller also lost an appeal over how his breathing treatments were handled by the jail.


Nessel leads coalition in fight to preserve billions for schools

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, along with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, is leading a coalition of 26 attorneys general fighting to preserve billions of dollars for schools across the country. Nessel previously led a coalition of 16 states and the District of Columbia supporting New Hampshire’s successful challenge in the First Circuit Court of Appeals to the Department of Justice’s Jan. 14, 2019 opinion, which reversed its 2011 opinion that the Wire Act applied only to interstate wire communications of sports wagers.  

In a letter sent last Friday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the coalition urges the DOJ to abandon its erroneous position and adopt the reading of the Wire Act set forth by the First Circuit in New Hampshire Lottery Commission, et. al. v. United States Department of Justice, et. al.—specifically that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting.

The Michigan Bureau of State Lottery and the nation’s 46 other government-operated lotteries raised more than $80 billion in gross revenues in 2017. In Michigan, the net proceeds of those monies provide critical support for public education, but the money is also used elsewhere for college scholarships, environmental protection, senior citizens, first responders and infrastructure projects, among other things. 

“Billions of dollars are generated through government-operated lotteries annually across this country for critical governmental services including schools, senior citizens programs, first responders, and infrastructure programs. This interpretation threatens this funding source,” Nessel said. “I am joined by my colleagues today to urge the Department of Justice to adopt the reading of the Wire Act set forth by the First Circuit.”

The letter notes that the First Circuit’s interpretation of the Wire Act is both more consistent with the language of the statute as a whole and is more consistent with the history of the Wire Act and urges the DOJ to adopt its reasoning in lieu of its Jan. 14, 2019 opinion.  If not rescinded, the 2019 Opinion could leave states outside the First Circuit vulnerable to criminal prosecutions for Lottery games that bring in millions of dollars of revenue for essential state services.  

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