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Judge fines state $21K after toy ape put atop employee’s cubicle

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A judge has fined the Michigan Department of Human Services $21,000 after someone placed a 5-foot toy ape atop the cubicle of a black employee.
The Lansing State Journal reports the fine came following a 2010 discrimination lawsuit filed by Crystal Perry. Last month, Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina found there was no evidence that discrimination caused Perry to not be promoted.
Aquilina, however, ordered the department to pay $1,000 for every day the toy was left atop Perry’s office cubicle in 2009 and to pay Perry’s attorney fees.
For Perry, it was a racially motivated attack.
The state argued that there was no evidence race was a factor the placement of the ape toy. DHS spokesman David Akerly says the agency intends to appeal Aquilina’s ruling.

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Judge trims 2 years off sentence in man’s slaying of teen girl

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A judge has trimmed two years off a sentence for a young man convicted of fatally stabbing a teenage girl in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula and burying her in a sand pile.
Grand Traverse County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power had sentenced Robert Schwander to 40-70 years, exceeding the minimum recommended under state guidelines. A jury found Schwander guilty of second-degree murder in the 2011 death of 16-year-old Carly Lewis of Traverse City.
The Michigan Court of Appeals, however, recently told Power he failed to explain why he exceeded the guidelines.
Power was ordered to explain the decision to resentence Schwander, who now is 19. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports Power last week reduced Schwander's minimum sentence to 38 years. Power said, however, he already explained the initial sentence.

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Area leaders in law enforcement to discuss gun violence

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the first in a three-part series of special public hearings on Curbing Gun Violence will begin during the Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ Public Service Committee meeting as part of Public Services Committee Chairman Bill Dwyer’s efforts, along with Commissioner Marcia Gershenson, who have presented a bipartisan resolution to Examine How Oakland County Citizens are Protected from Gun Violence.
Panelists in the first public hearing will speak from a law enforcement perspective. The three panelists will be Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe, Executive Director of the Chiefs of Police Bob Stevenson, who is the former police chief of Livonia, and West Bloomfield Police Chief Mike Patton.
The first hearing will begin at 11:30 a.m. in Oakland County Board of Commissioners’ Committee Room A, 1200 North Telegraph Road in Pontiac.  For additional information, call Dwyer at 248-417-7500.

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