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State’s top court tightens legal standard on car searches

JACKSON (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has tightened the legal standard for searching people during a traffic stop.

The court ruled in favor of a car passenger who said his rights were violated when police in Jackson County searched his backpack without his consent.

The backpack held marijuana and methamphetamine. But in a unanimous decision this week, the high court said the search was unconstitutional.

Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says Larry Mead had a “legitimate expectation” of privacy.

Mead was a passenger in a car stopped by a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy looked in Mead’s backpack after the driver said the car could be searched.

McCormack compared it to someone using a ride-sharing service. She said police can’t search a passenger based on consent from a driver. Mead served nearly three years in prison.

Limits on seizures in drug cases clear state legislature

LANSING (AP) — Michigan lawmakers are giving final approval to bills that would limit law enforcement’s ability to take ownership of cash and other property seized in drug cases unless there is a conviction.

The legislation targets civil asset forfeiture, through which government entities take possession of seized property during criminal investigations and then sell or use it. Critics say the practice has been abused and is an example of “policing for profit” to fund law enforcement.

Bills clearing the Legislature Thursday would prohibit assets taken in suspected drug crimes from being forfeited unless the defendant is convicted or the value of the money and property is more than $50,000 or less, excluding the value of contraband.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen is expected to sign the legislation that has overwhelmingly bipartisan support.

Paramedic wins $3.8M in lawsuit over pumping milk

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona paramedic has been awarded $3.8 million after a jury said the city of Tucson failed to provide her with a private place to pump breast milk and retaliated against her when she complained, court records show.

Carrie Clark sued the city in 2014, saying Tucson Fire Depart­ment officials and human resources staffers denied her requests to transfer to fire stations that could accommodate her as she pumped, the Arizona Daily Star newspaper reported.

After she informed the city that the department may have violated federal labor standards, Clark says city officials retaliated and continued to harass her.

Federal labor standards require that employers provide break time and a private place, other than a bathroom, for employees to pump breast milk for one year after a baby is born.

Clark gave birth in 2012 and requested a transfer to a station with a private area for pumping, along with refrigerator space for storing her milk. She found a colleague willing to transfer out of a station with those accommodations but fire officials ignored the request, court documents show.

Clark began to bounce around fire stations that weren’t equipped with appropriate spaces. Officials kept retaliating against Clark after the lawsuit was filed, court records show.


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