May 2013 Archives

May 31, 2013

Life has a way of Getting in the way of life...

This short article is presented to explain why my blog has gone "silent" these last few weeks. Having maintained a publication schedule of 2 articles per week for the last several years, I have been noticeably absent of late, and haven't put anything up on this blog. Normally, on Memorial Day, I write a short piece of gratitude for those who have served our country, but this time, my thoughts have turned more inward. Still, I think it is important that we not forget the sacrifice made by our wonderful service people here and abroad, past and present:

Thank you all and God bless you for your service.

Rose 1.3.jpgSince around the end of February, my attention has been required to care for my ailing father. As an only child, and with my dad having turned 90 in August of 2012, the demands on my time have virtually exploded since about February of this year (2013).

My dad died on May 23, 2013. He was a veteran, having served in the army. He was proud of the service he gave to our country, and I am proud of him. Because of the Memorial holiday, he was laid to rest on May 29, 2013.

While I am sad beyond words, I was at least able to be with him when he passed. I had prayed for that opportunity, and was lucky enough to have had the honor and satisfaction of having held each of my parents when they passed away. No one wants to see their parents die, but when that inevitability approaches, to know that they had the best comfort and companionship you can provide is reassuring.

My day-to-day world involves working on Detroit area DUI cases, winning Michigan license restoration appeals, and successfully handling the rather specialized criminal cases in which I concentrate, including embezzlement, indecent exposure, marijuana and suspended license charges. My practice is rather similar to my family life, in a strange kind of way. While some lawyers will handle a much wider spectrum of cases than me, I have chosen to keep the number of things I do to just a few. In my own family, I have no siblings, and my wife and I have just one child. In my practice, I focus on just a few things so that I can do them with an unparalleled expertise. My family, like my practice is small and intimate.

Losing my dad did not come as a surprise, or a shock, but it still hurts. I've always been very close to my parents, and as they got older, my role shifted to being more the parent than the child. When my mom died in 2008, my dad was already 86 years old. In the last few years, I've been in even closer contact with him, often seeing him daily and calling him on the phone to speak with him multiple times everyday, and handling doctors and medication and what seemed at the time like a million other things.

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May 3, 2013

DUI in Shelby Township (including Utica and Macomb Twp.)

The 41-A District Court in Shelby Township covers 3 municipalities: Shelby Township, Macomb Township, and the city of Utica. If you're arrested for a DUI in any of these places, your case winds up in the Court a Detroit DUI lawyer like me simply calls "Shelby."

Of course, it goes without saying that no one wants to face a drunk driving charge. I have often called any Michigan DUI charge "an accident of geography" because absolutely no one expects to go out and get a DUI in the first place, much less plans on where to get it. Sometimes, you wind up driving to different and distant places to meet up with others, and might, for example, drive all the way from Westland to Novi to Rochester to New Baltimore. You could get pulled over anywhere along the way, and given the (somewhat unlikely) route used in this illustration, you could find yourself in either one of the toughest or the most "forgiving" (as in "lenient") jurisdictions in the Detroit-area, or anything in-between.

Judge Doug 1.2.jpgThe point is that a DUI just happens where it happens. No one plans any part of it, although some would argue that a rather distinct lack of planning is the reason it happens in the first place. We'll let MADD deal with that part of thing; for now, we'll just stick to talking about "Shelby."

If you were going to plan to get a DUI, however, you'd certainly want to wind up in a lenient jurisdiction where the penalties weren't so severe and the Judge was nice. Shelby is that place.

Let's begin with the Judge. Having come to the Bench after working for a long time in private practice, Judge Douglas Shepherd brings a real world understanding to his position. This is hugely important, because it's a lot easier to understand people, if you're sitting on one side of the table, when you've sat on the other side, as well. Judge Shepherd, having been in private practice, knows that people charged with a DUI are often people who have made a one-time mistake, or even made the same mistake a second time. He knows that a DUI charge cuts across all groups, and that DUI defendants are your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Whatever else, we can't simply describe those charged with a DUI as "them." This is sometimes what the more judgmental amongst us do; these are also usually the first people to change their tune when it happens to them, or someone close to them. We think of that kind of judgmental person as being on a "high horse."

Not so with Judge Shepherd. He is, first and foremost, a decent and likeable man. You can't miss this. Look, it's no secret that when you encounter someone who is a real jerk (think of another 5-letter word that begins with the letter "a" and rhymes with "eggroll") it's a big turn off. Power is best used by those who use it the least, and that describes Judge Shepherd. I've been a regular in his Court since his election in 2000, and never once have I ever seen him make a case about him. Instead, he directs his attention to the matter before him, where it belongs. Intelligent and compassionate, he runs an efficient Court that pays homage to the first rule of everything: Common sense.

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