State Roundup

Mount Clemens

Judge turns down request for refugee to erase plea

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) -- A Michigan judge has turned down a request on behalf of a mentally disabled Iraqi refugee to erase his 2005 guilty plea as his lawyers seek to block his deportation.

The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens reports Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Edward Servitto on Monday sided with prosecutors in the case of Muwafak Zaya. He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for inappropriate touching.

The judge says he can't retroactively apply a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that immigrants have a constitutional right to be told by their lawyers whether pleading guilty could lead to their deportation. The plea in Zaya's case opened the door for deportation.

Lawyers for Zaya, who lives in a Clinton Township group home, plan to appeal or ask the judge for reconsideration.

Lansing

Lansing-based homeland security center expanding

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Plans are moving forward for the state's Lansing-based homeland security center to expand into southeastern Michigan.

The Detroit News reported Tuesday that plans have been approved by the state to add the Detroit-area location for the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center. The aim is to help law enforcement officials disseminate information on suspicious behaviors and crime trends.

Michigan State Police oversee the center and the agency says the new location will help authorities assess potential threats. The center, which is funded by the state and the federal government, is one of dozens nationwide that review tips and share information.

Some people worry, however, that the centers will infringe on civil liberties. They caution that oversight is needed.

Lansing

Police will accept crime reports online

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Lansing police will accept online reports of some crimes, including larceny, malicious destruction of property and harassment.

The Lansing State Journal reports police announced the system Monday. Police say they want to make crime reporting more convenient for residents.

If there's an emergency, police urge people to call 911. Online or telephone reporting is used by some other departments.

To use Lansing's system, people must be at least 17 and the crime must not be an emergency or involve weapons or a traffic crash.

Other crimes that qualify under the system include retail fraud less than $1,000, attempted breaking and entering of an unoccupied building, missing property, identity theft that didn't result in financial harm and identity theft in which a victim has been reimbursed.

Detroit

Michigan militia trial starting with jury picks

DETROIT (AP) -- Jury selection is getting under way in Detroit federal court, nearly two years after the dramatic arrest of people accused of belonging to a southern Michigan militia with a goal of rebelling against the government.

The trial is expected to last weeks. It involves seven of the nine people charged with belonging to a group called Hutaree (hoo-TAH'-ree). The government says they conspired to try to kill a police officer and plotted further strikes. No one was ever attacked, and the defendants say they're being prosecuted for saying stupid things.

Jury selection started Tuesday, a few weeks after prospective jurors filled out a 30-page questionnaire.

One of the nine pleaded guilty to a weapons charge in December. Another defendant will face trial at a later date.

Published: Wed, Feb 8, 2012

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