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Topic: More Reznick, Oakley & waterloo nonsense
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Collections Law: Default Judgement & Property Seizure ...


en.allexperts.com/.../2011/4/Default-Judgement-Property-Seizure.htm

Collections Law /Default Judgement & Property Seizure. Advertisement. ... I live in the state of Michigan and I received a judgement against me from a credit card ...

Collections Law/Default Judgement & Property Seizure

Expert: Ray A Miller - 4/8/2011

Question
I live in the state of Michigan and I received a judgement against me from a credit card company in Feb 2010. I started making payment arrangements with them for the next nine months until I defaulted in November. A week ago, the sheriff came to my home and seized my vehicle that I own. I just wanted to know if this is legal in the state of Michigan that a collection agency can seize my property?




Answer
Every thing is fair game if a judge so orders liquidation of assets to cover a civil judgement. If you disagree with the seizure, contact your Attorney General. The web site is: http://www.michigan.gov/ag/0,1607,7-164-21153-51368--,00.html I hope you find this helpful and good luck with this.
Post Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:50 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

PDF]
The Nuts and Bolts of Asset Seizures (Execution Writs)


www.icle.org/contentfiles/partners/seminarmaterials/2013CR1701/...

The Nuts and Bolts of Asset Seizures (Execution Writs) ... Michigan is a limited judgment lien ... An execution writ expires after 90 days after the sheriff or other ...
Post Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:59 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

II. The Writ to Seize Assets

The writ is the court’s command to the sheriff or bailiff of the court to seize the
debtor’s property, inventory it, allow the debtor to select exemptions, sell the rest at public sale, pay the expenses of the sale, and then apply the rest to the judgment. See MCL 600.6001 et seq. The sheriff may demand an indemnity bond from the judgment creditor only if he or she has a reasonable doubt about the title of the goods to be seized. MCL 600.6009. The sheriff is entitled and in fact required to break into any place except a home to seize goods pursuant to a writ of execution. Silverman v Stein, 242 Mich 64, 217 NW 785 (1928). If the sheriff fails to do the job, thus causing the creditor to suffer the loss of once available goods, the sheriff is liable to the judgment creditor for the damages sustained.
Beard v Clippert, 63 Mich 716, 30 NW 323 (1886); see also Valentino v Oakland
County Sheriff, 424 Mich 310, 381 NW2d 397 (1986) (sheriff liable for permitting judgment debtor in civil custody to leave before hospital room was searched). If the debtor is a business and has inventory, the writ of execution is theoretically the perfect remedy.

However, in most cases, theory is not reality. First, many sheriffs and deputies are
unwilling to do anything beyond serving the writ of execution on the debtor. This usually does no one any good. Some sheriffs demand an indemnity bond before going any further.

In addition, some district court clerks have been instructed to refuse to issue a writ unless an indemnity bond has already been filed—a wholly unlawful refusal in my view. Obtaining an indemnity bond costs money and sometimes requires that you have a friend in the indemnity bond business. Many insurance agents are not permitted to issue an indemnity bond without taking the creditor’s complete financial statement. The process is long, unwieldy, and sometimes impossible. On the other hand, some insurance agents have the authority to issue an indemnity bond for as much as $200,000 without a financial statement. If you get along well with such an agent and give the agent other good business, he or she might cooperate. Even after the writ is issued and the indemnity bond is in the
hands of the officer, you will probably have to hold the officer’s hand the rest of the way.
You will have to tell the officer where to go, what to do, and what to say. You will have to hire the truck and the movers, advertise the sale, pay for the storage, prepare the return, and show the deputy how to disburse the proceeds. Unless you have found one of the few process servers who actually do this kind of work well and without extensive supervision, a writ of execution should be a last resort.
Post Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:07 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

" The sheriff is entitled and in fact required to break into any place except a home to seize goods pursuant to a writ of execution. Silverman v Stein, 242 Mich 64, 217 NW 785 (1928). "


The defendants in the cases involving Reznick mostly let him in assuming he was truthfully telling them he was a sheriff deputy in their jurisdiction. my understanding is they cannot force their way into the house (or an attached garage). However any property in an unattached building, such as a garage or shed is fair game. So is the car in the driveway.
Post Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:12 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

MCL 600.6022 specifies persons whose property is exempt from execution, and
MCL 600.6023 lists types of property that are exempt from execution.

Bankruptcy places an automatic stay and prevents any action against the defendant,
including enforcement of a lien, enforcement of an execution, or eviction, unless the attorney for the plaintiff possesses a separate, special order. Special orders are available for court officers for private sales, quick sales, and other needs. There are a number of Internet sites relating to skip-tracing and asset investigations. A good summary site is http:// www.manhunt-seminars.com.

When a legal entity is the debtor, individuals can be collected from and their personal assets taken when they are named in the writ, such as in situations where they are individually liable, they are guarantors, they are proprietors, or they are general partners. The writ must be read carefully. Partnership property cannot be levied upon if you have a judgment against only one of the partners.
Post Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:20 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The court officer should first attempt to collect the amount of the judgment in money. It is less costly, quicker, and requires less work than collecting in property. However, if the debtor does not cooperate with payment, the officer should select property, take an inventory, and have the debtor sign the inventory. Even well-run sheriff’s sales often recover only 10 to 20 percent of the retail value of the goods, so do not be stingy in selecting the debtor’s goods. Take at least five times the market value. Two disinterested persons must appraise the property. MCL 600.6025
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This class reinforces Reznick's cash only policy . However the clients had no cash, he reused checks and property and demanded they call family to obtain the money, even when the debt was not theirs, but that of a spouse or other family member.
Post Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:26 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The court officer should have identification and display it. Service can be done on
holidays and Sundays, but not if the defendant is going to or from a place of worship. Service is not limited to the 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. limitations in the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, as court officers are generally not debt collectors under that act.


If the debtor is a corporation, all assets are subject to a levy; there are no exemptions. However, individual debtors are allowed exemptions. See MCL 600.6023. With individual debtors, the court officer should still levy the execution on goods but must give the individual 10 days to pick out the exemptions. With inventory and fixtures, the debtor is entitled to a $1,000 exemption at the market value. Id.; MCL 600.6026(1).
Post Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:29 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

MCL 750.217c. False impersonation, representation, or action as public officer or employee in connection with process affecting persons or property; ...750.217c. False impersonation, representation, or action as public officer or employee in connection with process affecting persons or property; ...
Post Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:56 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

MCL Chapter Index
Chapter 750
Act 328 of 1931
328-931-XXXV
Section 750.217c


THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931


750.217c Legal process; impersonation, false representation, or action as public officer or employee; definitions.


Sec. 217c.

(1) A person shall not impersonate, falsely represent himself or herself as, or falsely act as a public officer or public employee and prepare, issue, serve, execute, or otherwise act to further the operation of any legal process or unauthorized process that affects or purports to affect persons or property.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) or (4), a person who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(3) A person who violates subsection (1) after a prior conviction for violating subsection (1) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $1,500.00, or both.

(4) A person who violates subsection (1) after 2 or more prior convictions for violating subsection (1) is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

(5) This section does not prohibit a person from being charged with, convicted of, or sentenced for any other violation of law that individual commits while violating this section.

(6) This section does not prohibit individuals from assembling lawfully or lawful free expression of opinions or designation of group affiliation or association.

(7) As used in this section:

(a) “Lawful tribunal” means a tribunal created, established, authorized, or sanctioned by law or a tribunal of a private organization, association, or entity to the extent that the organization, association, or entity seeks in a lawful manner to affect only the rights or property of persons who are members or associates of that organization, association, or entity.

(b) “Legal process” means a summons, complaint, pleading, writ, warrant, injunction, notice, subpoena, lien, order, or other document issued or entered by or on behalf of a court or lawful tribunal or lawfully filed with or recorded by a governmental agency that is used as a means of exercising or acquiring jurisdiction over a person or property, to assert or give notice of a legal claim against a person or property, or to direct persons to take or refrain from an action.

(c) “Public employee” means an employee of this state, an employee of a city, village, township, or county of this state, or an employee of a department, board, agency, institution, commission, authority, division, council, college, university, court, school district, intermediate school district, special district, or other public entity of this state or of a city, village, township, or county in this state, but does not include a person whose employment results from election or appointment.

(d) “Public officer” means a person who is elected or appointed to any of the following:

(i) An office established by the state constitution of 1963.

(ii) A public office of a city, village, township, or county in this state.

(iii) A department, board, agency, institution, commission, court, authority, division, council, college, university, school district, intermediate school district, special district, or other public entity of this state or a city, village, township, or county in this state.

(e) “Unauthorized process” means either of the following:

(i) A document simulating legal process that is prepared or issued by or on behalf of an entity that purports or represents itself to be a lawful tribunal or a court, public officer, or other agency created, established, authorized, or sanctioned by law but that is not a lawful tribunal or a court, public officer, or other agency created, established, authorized, or sanctioned by law.

(ii) A document that would otherwise be legal process except that it was not issued or entered by or on behalf of a court or lawful tribunal or lawfully filed with or recorded by a governmental agency as required by law.


History: Add. 1998, Act 360, Eff. Jan. 1, 1999 ;-- Am. 2002, Act 672, Eff. Mar. 31, 2003

© 2009 Legislative Council, State of Michigan
Post Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:01 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

(e) “Unauthorized process” means either of the following:

(i) A document simulating legal process that is prepared or issued by or on behalf of an entity that purports or represents itself to be a lawful tribunal or a court, public officer, or other agency created, established, authorized, or sanctioned by law but that is not a lawful tribunal or a court, public officer, or other agency created, established, authorized, or sanctioned by law.

(ii) A document that would otherwise be legal process except that it was not issued or entered by or on behalf of a court or lawful tribunal or lawfully filed with or recorded by a governmental agency as required by law.
Post Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:05 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Can Officers Lie To Gain Entry Into Your Home Without ...


www.dgladishlaw.com/indiana-case-law/indiana-criminal-law/can...

... Can Officers Lie To Gain Entry Into Your Home Without ... Shelby, Lake Village, Hobart, Westville, Porter, Ogden Dunes, LaPorte, Michigan City and North .

on May 13, 2014 by admin in Evidence, Indiana Case Law, Indiana Criminal Law



Question: Can Officers Lie To Gain Entry Into Your Home Without Exigent/Urgent Circumstances?

Answer: No!

Defendant called the police to report a domestic dispute with her husband. Officer responded to the call and she told him that they had been arguing and the argument escalated into a shoving match. From previous experience, Officer was aware that this was an on-going issue. Husband also called 911 and was 2 blocks away. Officers observed that he had 2 small scratches on his head, a swollen left eye, and what appeared to be a small puncture wound in his abdomen. Husband told the Officers that Defendant had attacked him with scissors and had struck him multiple times with her fist. Officers returned to the residence intending to arrest her for domestic battery. She spoke to them through the door and then opened it so that the screen door was still there and closed. Officers asked if she could step outside to talk. She said that she did not want to go outside due to the fact that it was cold. Officers then asked if they could step inside to speak with her and she said, “No.” Officers then asked her if she would sign a document for a protective order. At which time she opened the screen door and Officers stepped in to affect an arrest. So, even though Defendant expressly told the officers that they could not enter her home and had no reason to be inside her house. Defendant was not wearing any shoes at the time of her arrest, so Officer accompanied her to her kitchen to retrieve them. While standing behind her and without any warning to Defendant concerning what he was about to do, Officer attempted to remove her wedding ring. In response, Defendant immediately and violently thrust her shoulders forward pulling away from him causing him to lose his grip on her. Officers then placed their hands on her shoulders, forcibly sat her down in a kitchen chair and proceeded to remove the ring. Officer did so because anything that could be taken off the body has to be taken off before transporting the individual to the jail in Marion County. Neither officer explained this policy to Defendant prior to attempting to remove her wedding ring. Defendant was subsequently charged only with resisting law enforcement; she was not charged with domestic battery. A bench trial was held and the court specifically found that the Officers used a “ruse” to enter her home, but concluded that she consented to entry when she opened her door to them. The trial court then found Harper guilty as charged and Defendant appealed.

The Appellate Court noted that under the 4th Amendment, searches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable. The physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed. The warrantless arrest of a person in his or her home requires both probable cause and exigent circumstances … that make it impracticable to obtain a warrant first. Although Officer’s purpose for entering the home was to arrest her, he was still required to obtain an arrest warrant before entering her private residence. This was not a situation of hot pursuit or a crime committed in the presence of the officer. The State did not argue any other exigent circumstances, or any reason at all, that would have made it impracticable for Officers to obtain an arrest warrant. Further, opening the door to ascertain the purpose of an interruption to the private enjoyment of the home is not an invitation to enter, but rather is a common courtesy of civilized society. Attendant to this courtesy is the ability to exclude those who are knocking and preserve the integrity of the physical boundaries of the home. This is particularly true where an intervening screen or storm door remains closed. In the case before us, Defendant never abandoned the privacy interest in her home. She simply opened her front, prime door to answer Officer’s knock, and after she did so, she stood behind the closed screen door to speak with him. Defendant never crossed the threshold of her residence onto her stoop or porch. In addition, she expressly denied the Officers entry to her home, and rather than obtain a standard warrant for her arrest, Officer chose to use fraud to enter the residence to arrest her.

For all of these reasons, we conclude that Officers unlawfully entered the residence, and therefore, the Officers were not engaged in the lawful execution of their duties at the time they arrested her and then attempted to remove her wedding ring in preparation for booking. Accordingly, the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction for resisting law enforcement. 3 N.E.3d 1080







..
Post Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:31 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Oakley shuts down police department as hopes for liability insurance fall through

Brad Devereaux | bdeverea@mlive.com By Brad Devereaux | bdeverea@mlive.com
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on September 09, 2014 at 9:42 PM, updated September 11, 2014 at 10:16 AM


OAKLEY, MI — The Village of Oakley Board of Trustees shut down the Oakley Police Department in a five-to-one vote after board members discussed whether it should operate without liability insurance.

After the vote Tuesday, Sept. 9, Oakley Police Department officers Don Simpson and Joaquin Guerrero left the meeting hall.

A resident asked Simpson to stop someone from swearing.

"I don't work here anymore," he replied.

The officers left in an Oakley Police Department car and did not stop to answer questions.

The vote happened as President Pro Tem Sue Dingo came to the final item on the agenda, asking for a motion to pay the bills. Trustee Dennis Bitterman interrupted.

"What are we going to do about those cops?" he asked.

Oakley shuts down police department during September board meeting

The Village of Oakley Board of Trustees shut down the Oakley Police Department in a five-to-one vote after board members discussed whether it should operate without liability insurance.

"I make motion: We got no insurance. They shouldn't be operating with the liability they're creating."

The motion, clarified to mean the police department would be shut down until it has liability insurance, carried with Bitterman, Francis Koski, Norm Wolfe, John Lorencz and Richard Shuster voting for it and Dingo voting against.

"Until we have insurance," Lorencz said after casting his vote.

The meeting ended with several residents yelling, some swearing and storming out.

With the loss of the local department, the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department and Michigan State Police will continue to provide police coverage in the village.

The Saginaw News has published extensive articles beginning in March detailing the controversy in Oakley, a town of fewer than 300 people in southwest Saginaw County that has a police force including 100 reserve officers and about a dozen certified officers. The village was notified it would be dropped from its insurance coverage earlier this year.

The village's insurance carrier at the time, the Michigan Municipal League, cited the number of lawsuits filed against the village and concerns about the police department as reasons for terminating coverage as of July 1.

Oakley Chief of Police Robert Reznick took a second chief job in Jackson County's Waterloo Township in April and said he planned to do both chief jobs at the same time.

A discussion about liability coverage

Earlier in the meeting, Dingo said a new lawsuit filed against her and the village by village Trustee Francis Koski was the reason the village is not getting liability insurance for the police department, as she expected.

"We were within two days of having and securing police liability insurance, but due to Mr. Koski having to sue me this week...claiming I'm not supposed to be the president pro tem," she said, "the insurance company of course heard about it and said 'cha.'

"We were within two days of having insurance," Dingo said. "I'm sure you gentlemen are glad we lost it."

The village secured municipal insurance coverage on July 1. It does not cover the police department.

Dingo said all the work members of the village put in to ensure insurance for the department has been "thrown out the window."

Koski said, "You're looking at me personally?"

"I'm just looking at the room," Dingo said.

Bitterman asked how much liability insurance would have cost the village, and Dingo said she did not know.

"You're two days away from getting it and you didn't get a quote?" Bitterman said.

"No," Dingo said.

About 30 people sat in the audience, including three news reporters and two Oakley certified police officers, as Koski asked Lorencz to start a discussion about the police department operating without liability insurance.

"What do you want to see happen to this town?" Lorencz asked.

"Everybody needs to stop pointing fingers and we need to get this stuff sorted out," Wolfe said.

Koski expressed concerns for the taxpayers in the village because the department has been operating without liability insurance.

"Can you quit calling for a month and give the girls a chance?" Lorencz asked, explaining he believes other trustees have been calling insurers, leading to problems with the village securing the coverage.

Koski brought up the idea of having no police department in town and relying on the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department.

Chief Reznick did not attend the meeting.

Resident Ronaldo Rodriguez questioned if the department can function without insurance, raising his voice until Oakley Police Officer and Sergeant of Arms Don Simpson asked him to sit down and Dingo struck the gavel several times, calling for order.

"We can be self insured," Bolf, the clerk, said in response to the question.

During the discussion, Lorencz said this would be his last meeting and said he would like the new council, which will be elected in November, should make the decision.

As quickly as the discussion exploded about insurance issues, the board transitioned in to a discussion about power-washing playground equipment after neighborhood kids were seen pouring pop and syrup on it, according to a resident.

They then spoke about asking for volunteers for a Halloween party, minutes before Bitterman moved to shut down the department.

— Brad Devereaux is a public safety reporter for MLive/The Saginaw News. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+
Post Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:12 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Oakley police chief expected in court to defend department as lawsuits continue

Brad Devereaux | bdeverea@mlive.com By Brad Devereaux | bdeverea@mlive.com
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on October 08, 2014 at 7:15 AM, updated October 08, 2014 at 11:50 AM


SAGINAW, MI — Oakley Chief of Police Robert Reznick is expected to appear in court Thursday, Oct. 9, to testify in lawsuits that question leadership authority in the village of Oakley and whether or not Reznick's police department should be operating.

During deliberations Tuesday, Oct. 7, before Saginaw County Circuit Court Judge Robert Kaczmarek, Attorney Philip Ellison of Hemlock produced insurance documents signed in July 2014 by President Pro Tem Sue Dingo that he alleged were authorized without approval of the village council.

The documents bound the village to the insurance before the board had a chance to vote on them, Ellison said.

Ellison is representing Oakley Trustee Francis Koski, who is suing the village in two separate suits. One lawsuit questions who can make decisions for the village and the other seeks to shut down the Oakley Police Department, alleging the village council never voted for its return after a Sept. 9 vote to shut down the department.

The Saginaw News published a series of articles beginning in March called, "Small Town, Big Problem" that details controversy in the village of about 300 people in southwest Saginaw County. The village lost its previous insurance policy through the Michigan Municipal League because of the number of lawsuits against the village and its officials and because of concerns over the Oakley Police Department that includes about 100 reserve officers.

Dingo reported July 1, the day the village's previous coverage was terminated, that she secured a new insurance policy for the village and described it as having similar coverage as their former policy.

The Sept. 9 vote to shut down the police department came after The Saginaw News revealed documents obtained by a Freedom of Information request showed the village's insurance policy did not cover liability issues of the police department, though Dingo testified Tuesday she originally thought police liability insurance was included.

The village has since added liability coverage, funded by police reservist donations, Dingo testified on Tuesday. The department returned to action Sept. 12.

When asked during the hearing if she had the chance to buy insurance for the village council again, would she ask for village council approval ahead of time, Dingo answered simply, "Yes I would."

She argued that she thought she had the authority to sign documents to purchase insurance, but could not point to a law or ordinance that says so.

"I was told I did," she said.

Koski testified that the village council is responsible for conducting village business and should make decisions like the one to purchase insurance. But village attorney Richard Hamilton argued that Dingo has the power to make some decisions.

During the hearing, Koski testified that Dingo did not bring issues to the board including strategies regarding lawsuits against the village and how the village responded to a subpoena sent by the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.

"Non reporting is the activity taking place," Judge Kaczmarek said, noting he was attempting to frame the issue. "Whatever she did or didn't do, she should've reported it?"

Koski said yes.

Ellison called village Clerk Cheryl Bolf to the witness stand and asked if she brought all village meeting minutes from November 2012 to present, to which Bolf answered she only brought August and September 2014 minutes.

Ellison asked for an entry of contempt of court, but after Bolf said she had the minutes on a "thumb drive," Ellison agreed to allow the minutes to be entered as evidence at a later date.

Ellison asked her if any laws or ordinances or any other legal basis gives her the authority to sign binding contracts that have not been approved by council.

"Outside the fact that I do it on a daily basis; that's my job," she answered.

Ellison submitted documents as evidence that show Bolf signed insurance documents in July and again in September. Additionally, Dingo signed the September document.

Ellison asked if the council instructed her by a vote to purchase police liability insurance, and Bolf answered, "No."

Ellison then called Robin Ochalek, an account manager at Doeren Mayhew CPA, the Troy-based firm that provided insurance to the village in July 2014 after the Michigan Municipal League dropped the village from its existing coverage.

Ochalek testified that some insurance documents including an offer that offers the village insurance coverage, entered as evidence in the case, were signed by Bolf. Dingo signed the September document, Ochalek testified.

She said she had email communications with Bolf, Dingo and Reznick leading up to the purchase of liability insurance.

Matt Kunz, managing partner at Doeren Mayhew, also testified that he communicated with Reznick about an insurance policy for police liability issues with a cost of about $25,800.

"I spoke with Rob Reznick about getting payment for the policy and he was responsible for the payment," Kunz said.

Ellison asked Kunz if he was a reservist in Oakley, to which Kunz responded, "I am not."

Hamilton later said that the cost of the liability insurance was paid in full, with part of the payment made Oct. 6, the day before the court hearing.

While arguing, both sides referred to a video of a vote as evidence they believe helps make their case.

The video, recorded by a reporter from The Saginaw News and MLive.com at the September Oakley board meeting, shows the council voting five-to-one to shut down the Oakley Police Department on Sept. 9.

Some board members contend that the purchase of insurance alone does not authorize the department to return to action, and that should have also required council approval.

Chief absent

Chief Reznick, who was served a subpoena to appear in Saginaw County Circuit Court, was not present when called to take the stand on Tuesday.

Village Attorney Richard Hamilton stood up and said he received a text message from Reznick containing the reason he was absent.

"He's here but he has food poisoning," Hamilton said. "He had to leave."

— Brad Devereaux is a public safety reporter for MLive/The Saginaw News. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+
Post Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:17 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Oakley Police Department shut down again, this time by judge
Jessica Shepherd | jessica_shepherd@mlive.com By Jessica Shepherd | jessica_shepherd@mlive.com
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on October 09, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Jeff Schrier | MLive.com

SAGINAW, MI — A Saginaw County judge has ordered the Oakley Police Department to cease operations immediately.

Saginaw County Circuit Judge Robert L. Kaczmarek's decision came down just after 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, during a hearing for a set of lawsuits filed by Oakley Trustee Francis Koski against the village.

One of the two lawsuits requested the disbanding of the Oakley Police Department, alleging the Village Council never voted for its return after a Sept. 9 vote to shut down the department, which at the time was uninsured.

"I'm gonna grant the preliminary injunction as to the police department until there's an election ... at which time the citizens of Oakley, through their elected representatives, can decide whether they want a police department or not," Kaczmarek said.

Kaczmarek dissolved the police department until the Oakley Board of Trustees comes to its own decision on the fate of the department.

Chief is a no-show

Thursday's hearing was scheduled after Oakley Police Chief Robert Reznick failed to appear in court earlier in the week. Oakley Attorney Richard Hamilton on Tuesday said Reznick left the courthouse before the 9 a.m. hearing began due to illness.

Despite the rescheduling of Reznick's testimony, the police chief was absent on Thursday.

Click here to read more about controversy in Oakley

Koski's attorney, Philip L. Ellison, asked Kaczmarek to issue a bench warrant for Reznick's arrest because of his failure to appear.

"We are here today pursuant to a subpoena that was served, and he is not here," Ellison said. "I have been told by a reporter (who) has been in contact with Mr. Reznick that he doesn't care about the subpoena, he doesn't care that a bench warrant would be issued for him or not."

Kaczmarek refused to grant the request for a bench warrant.

"I don't think Reznick's testimony would add anything to this," Kaczmarek said. "It's just another issue that's not important."

After the hearing, Ellison said he was pleased with Kaczmarek's ruling regarding the police department. He also expressed concern regarding Reznick's failure to appear.

"I am somewhat surprised by the fact that Mr. Reznick, who is a sworn police officer, defied an order of the court not once, but twice," Ellison said. "When someone has been sworn to uphold the law and ignores it like this, it's cause for concern for everyone who works in this judicial system."

Ellison said it is not unusual for a court to hold off on issuing a warrant if a subpoenaed person does not appear once due to illness or another hardship. After a second failure to appear, Ellison said holding the witness in contempt would not be a surprising move for the court.

"Bench warrants are commonly issued by courts when someone blatantly disregards a court order," he said. "It is the province, I believe, of the court to enforce its orders so that others don't use that as an example and take that as a direction that they themselves can ignore the orders of a court."

Reznick was reached by phone but did not provide The Saginaw News with comment.

Sheriff Department protection

Koski, the trustee who filed the lawsuit, also was happy about Kaczmarek's decision to dissolve the department. He said he believes, at some point, that the board will come to an agreement regarding the police department.

"That's an absolute victory," Koski said.

On the other hand, he was not pleased with Kaczmarek's refusal to issue a bench warrant for Reznick.

"I think it sends the wrong message," Koski said.

Now that the police department is disbanded, Koski said a conversation he had with officials at the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department made clear that Oakley will receive police services through the department, as they fall within the sheriff's jurisdiction.

"The village of Oakley is not without any police protection," he said. "I have no concerns there."

Koski said he was not trying to fight against the police as much as he was fighting for a proper insurance plan for the village of Oakley.

In regards to complaints made against President Pro Tem Sue Dingo, who purchased insurance for the village without the approval of other council members, Kaczmarek said he does not believe "any irreparable harm" came from her actions.

The complaints against Dingo were part of Koski's other lawsuit against the village, dealing with the question of who can make decisions for the village.

"I see a multitude of issues here that may be intriguing," Kaczmarek said. "But I don't think they're in need of an injunction at this time.

"And besides, again, in 30 days you're gonna have a new board. A lot of this stuff will be taken care of."

A number of other lawsuits against the village of Oakley are currently active, including one filed last month that claims the board violated Michigan's Open Meetings Act in 2012.

— Jessica Shepherd is a reporter with MLive/The Saginaw News. Contact her at 989-996-0687, email her at jessica_shepherd@mlive.com or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.
Post Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:20 pm 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Bill to grant state oversight of reserve police officers clears Michigan Senate in unanimous vote
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Brad Devereaux | bdeverea@mlive.com By Brad Devereaux | bdeverea@mlive.com
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on October 09, 2014 at 9:30 AM, updated October 09, 2014 at 9:33 AM


SAGINAW, MI — A bill that would give a Michigan agency the power to make rules for reserve police officers has cleared the Michigan Senate by a unanimous vote.

The bill to grant oversight of reserve officers is a "step in the right direction" that has been needed for a long time, the president of the Deputy Sheriff's Association of Michigan says.


tonya Schuitmaker.JPG

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker

MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette file photo

Senate Bill 411, introduced by Tonya Schuitmaker in June 2013, updates responsibilities of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement (MCOLES) and allows the agency to create rules regarding "minimum standards and procedures for reserve officers."

It passed through the committee on judiciary in June 2013 and was referred to the committee of the whole. With every member of the Senate voting on Sept. 23, it passed on a 38-0 roll call vote and was sent to the House and read a first time that same day, then sent to the House Committee on Judiciary.

Schuitmaker, R-Antwerp Township, said the part of the bill that gives the the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards was included at the request of MCOLES and the Deputy Sheriff's Association of Michigan and is intended to keep reserve officers in check from going above and beyond the scope of their allowed duties.

Dave LaMontaine, a Monroe County sheriff's deputy and the president of the Deputy Sheriff's Association of Michigan, said a change regarding reserve officers has been needed for a long time.

Senate Bill 411 is "a step in the right direction," he said.

"There's widespread abuse," he said of reserve officers in Michigan. "That bill is not going to fix the problem, but it's a good start."

One of the primary issues is licensing, he said, noting hairdressers, doctors, lawyers and others have to be licensed, but reserve officers do not. LaMontaine said he wants the state to require licensing of reserve officers, though the bill does not specifically call for that.

An important part of the bill is that it gives the deputy sheriff's association a seat on the MCOLES board, "and we'll continue the discussion on licensing," he said. "We're going to talk about it every time we can."

The association has been in talks with Gov. Rick Snyder and his staff, LaMontaine said, and working closely with him on the issues including oversight of reserve officers.

Currently, police chiefs and governments of municipalities where reserve officers operate have full control of how their reserve forces are run.

LaMontaine views the proper way to run a reserve unit as the way Monroe County does. A collective bargaining agreement there states a reserve officer must be directly supervised by a sworn officer.

"They're meant to augment, they're not meant to replace licensed police officers," he said, noting there is potential for other types of abuse without more oversight.

Explaining to citizens that he is a licensed police officer is not something he wants to have to deal with while out doing his job.

"I don't want a person I'm having contact with question whether I'm a police officer or not. It's not a conversation we need to be having with people," he said. "We don't want people to question whether we're a real police officer, or somebody's uncle."

MCOLES having oversight of reserve officers would guarantee a vetting process that will allow the agency to know what reserve officers' training processes are and what they can and cannot do, he said.

"It will legitimize who these people are," LaMontaine said, which is different from the current model. "Who are they? I don't know."

"The problem we have right now is there is no oversight. We don't know where these people came from, we don't know what training they got."

He said some reserve officers are out at sporting events and they often look the same as licensed police officers.

"At a Detroit Tigers game or a Lions game, you think you're seeing a Wayne County sheriff's deputy," he said, but some are reserve officers. "It's frightening to me as a licensed and certified police officer.

"We're not there, but we're moving in the right direction," he said. "And it's for the first time ever. I've been in law enforcement for 26 years. It's been an issue for
us for a long time."

Michigan police reserve units face scrutiny

LaMontaine called the situation in Oakley, where there is a police department that includes about 100 reserve officers for a village of nearly 300 people in southwest Saginaw County, "probably an example of pretty significant abuse," but did not give specifics. "There are others, too."

In Saginaw County in July, MCOLES and the Michigan Attorney General's Office began an investigation of the village of Oakley, several months after a Saginaw News series revealed the village was being dropped from its insurance coverage through the Michigan Municipal League.

Oakley Chief of Police Robert Reznick operates a police force with about a dozen certified officers.

The league cited rthe Oakley Police Department's lack of cooperation in the league's risk management efforts as one reason to drop the insurance.

The Saginaw News broke the news about the controversy in an ongoing series published starting in March called, "Small Town, Big Problem."


The most recent lawsuit lawsuit filed against the village of Oakley behalf of Village Trustee Francis Koski seeks to halt the police force from operating and argues the board should have given approval before the force returned to service in September. The suit also asks a judge to clear up questions about the authority of leadership and decision-making power on the board of trustees.

Reznick in April accepted a job to become the chief of police in Jackson County's Waterloo Township. He holds both that and the Oakley jobs.

Despite some calls for Reznick's termination in Waterloo Township, trustees there said during Reznick's six-month review in late September that he met expectations and will remain in the position.

Waterloo Township officials said the township has stopped collecting donations and is not allowing more reservists to join the force. In response to worries about reservists' qualifications, their training requirements or achievements will be publicized, an official said.

In Barry County's Barry Township, Chief of Police Victor Pierce resigned Aug. 7 after his reserve force was suspended. Critics accused Pierce and his officers of excessive force and harassment and argue that 34 reserves were too many for a township of about 3,300 residents.

— Brad Devereaux is a public safety reporter for MLive/The Saginaw News. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+
Post Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:29 pm 
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