December 2013

Can I Withdraw a Guilty Plea?

There is no absolute right to withdraw a guilty plea once it is accepted. Michigan Court Rules set forth the procedure and limitations on a request to withdraw plea. MCR 6.310 provides:

(A) Withdrawal Before Acceptance. The defendant has a right to withdraw any plea until the court accepts it on the record.

(B) Withdrawal After Acceptance but Before Sentence. After acceptance but before sentence,

(1) a plea may be withdrawn on the defendant’s motion or with the defendant’s consent, only in the interest of justice, and may not be withdrawn if withdrawal of the plea would substantially prejudice the prosecutor because of reliance on the plea. If the defendant’s motion is based on an error in the plea proceeding, the court must permit the defendant to withdraw the plea if it would be required by subrule (C).

(2) the defendant is entitled to withdraw the plea if

(a) the plea involves a prosecutorial sentence recommendation or agreement for a specific sentence, and the court states that it is unable to follow the agreement or recommendation; the trial court shall then state the sentence it intends to impose, and provide the defendant the opportunity to affirm or withdraw the plea; or

(b) the plea involves a statement by the court that it will sentence to a specified term or within a specified range, and the court states that it is unable to sentence as stated; the trial court shall provide the defendant the opportunity to affirm or withdraw the plea, but shall not state the sentence it intends to impose.

(C) Motion to Withdraw Plea After Sentence. The defendant may file a motion to withdraw the plea within 6 months after sentence. Thereafter, the defendant may seek relief only in accordance with the procedure set forth in subchapter 6.500. If the trial court determines that there was an error in the plea proceeding that would entitle the defendant to have the plea set aside, the court must give the advice or make the inquiries necessary to rectify the error and then give the defendant the opportunity to elect to allow the plea and sentence to stand or to withdraw the plea. If the defendant elects to allow the plea and sentence to stand, the additional advice given and inquiries made become part of the plea proceeding for the purposes of further proceedings, including appeals.


Jeffrey Lance Abood Named to the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber Board of Directors

Jeffrey Lance Abood was recently named to the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber Board of Directors.

“We are very pleased and grateful to have four such outstanding business leaders join the Chamber board of directors,” said Chamber President Joe Bauman. “We look forward to working with Bob, Kelly, Jeffrey and Kim, and the Chamber no doubt will be a stronger organization because of their service to the Chamber and the greater Birmingham-Bloomfield business community.” Homtownlife.com

Click below for full article.




November 2013

Prison for State Chemist Who Faked Drug Evidence by Katharine Q. Seelye (NY Times, Nov. 22, 2013)

According to the New York Times, Massachusetts Chemist, Annie Dookhaan, “pleaded guilty to 27 counts, including obstruction of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence, and was sentenced to three to five years in prison, plus two years’ probation.” (Seelye, NY Times) According to State Prosecutors, “Ms. Dookhan declared drug samples positive that she had not bothered to test, tampered with evidence, forged signatures and lied about her credentials to enhance her standing in court as an expert witness. In all, her actions may have tainted more than 40,000 drug samples involving thousands of defendants.” (Seelye, NY Times) According to the New York Times, since the date of the article’s posting, more than 300 people have been released. (Seelye, NY Times). Read the full article below.


What is Michigan’s “Super Drunk” Law?

Michigan’s new “Super Drunk” law went into effect October 31, 2012, which mandates additional penalties for individuals convicted of operating while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content of .17% or higher. The enhanced penalties include one year of alcohol rehabilitation, up to 180 days in jail (opposed to up to 93 days in jail for a traditional OWI charge), and increased license sanctions through the Michigan Secretary of State. For a traditional OWI charge, an individual’s license is suspended for 180 days, the first 30 days of which is a hard suspension, meaning no driving at all. After this initial 30 day period, if the individual otherwise qualifies, the Secretary of State will issue the individual a restricted license for the remaining 150 days permitting the individual to drive to and from work, school, community service, probation, and regularly scheduled medical appointments.  An individual convicted under the Super Drunk law faces a year suspension of their driving privileges, the first 45 of which is a hard suspension. The individual may obtain a restricted license for the remaining 320 days, but only if they provide proof that they have had an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. The Courts fines associated with a Super Drunk charge also increase from a maximum fine of $500 to a maximum fine of $700.

MCL 257.625(1)(c)


How is Spousal Support Awarded in a Claim for Divorce?

The statutory authority for the court to award spousal support to either party in a claim for divorce is stated under MCL 552.23(1):

Upon entry of a judgment of divorce or separate maintenance, if the estate and effects awarded to either party are insufficient for the suitable support and maintenance of either party and any children of the marriage who are committed to the care and custody of either party, the court may also award to either party the part of the real and personal estate of either party and spousal support out of the real and personal estate, to be paid to either party in gross or otherwise as the court considers just and reasonable, after considering the ability of either party to pay and the character and situation of the parties, and all the other circumstances of the case.

In other words, after considering all surrounding circumstances of the particular case, the court may award spousal support to provide for the suitable support of a party, and any child committed to his or her care, when the property award is found to be insufficient.

Factors to consider in awarding spousal support:

  • Past relations and conduct of the parties
  • Length of the marriage
  • Ability of the parties to work
  • Source of and amount of property awarded to the parties
  • Ages of the parties
  • Ability of the parties to pay spousal support
  • Present situation of the parties
  • Needs of the parties
  • Health of the parties
  • Prior standard of living of the parties
  • Whether either party is responsible for the support of others
  • General principles of equity

Factors relevant to the amount of spousal support:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • The parties’ contribution to the joint estate
  • The parties’ ages
  • The parties’ health
  • The parties’ stations in life
  • The parties’ necessities and circumstances
  • The parties’ earning abilities

The judgment of divorce must either reserve the question of spousal support or state that neither party is awarded any spousal support. The issue of spousal support is reserved if the judgment fails to state otherwise. MCR 3.211(B)(4). If spousal support is awarded, a Uniform Spousal Support Order (see SCAO forms FOC 10b and FOC 10c) must accompany the judgment and be entered by the court. MCR 3.211(D)(1). The judgment must also make reference to the order.

Enforcement mechanisms include those used for collecting unpaid child support, such as, income withholding, liens, contempt, license suspensions, and intercepting tax refunds.

The court has continuing jurisdiction to review or amend the order of spousal support.  There is no time-lapse requirement before a party may request a modification. Yanz v Yanz, 116 Mich App 574, 323 NW2d 489 (1982). Furthermore, the petition does not fall under the 10-year statute of limitations. Torakis v Torakis, 194 Mich App 201, 486 NW2d 107 (1992). Retroactive modification is not available unless the court decides to enter an agreement of the parties regarding the same.  Modification is available on a showing of changed circumstances or new facts.  MCL 552.28. The petitioner must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, justification for the change. Crouse v Crouse, 140 Mich App 234, 363 NW2d 461 (1985). 

Factors indicating a change in circumstances:

  • Remarriage
  • Cohabitation
  • Changes in need
  • Changes in ability to pay
  • Retirement
  • Death of the payer

Under the Bankruptcy Reform Act, domestic support obligations are nondischargeable by the bankrupt spouse in most cases.  11 USC 523(a)(5) .


Recent Case Law on “Caregivers” Pursuant to Michigan Medical Marijuana Act

In People of the State of Michigan v. Hartwick, the defendant appealed the trial court’s order that held the defendant was not entitled to immunity under §4 of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) for mere possession of a medical marijuana card. Additionally, the court denied the defendant’s request for dismissal under §8 of the MMMA. The court of appeals affirmed this decision.

Defendant was arrested for illegally growing and possessing marijuana after Police received a tip that someone was distributing marijuana from their residence in Pontiac. The Detective visited the residence and asked the Defendant if there was marijuana inside the home. After the defendant responded affirmatively the Detective requested to search the residence. The Detective inspected the back bedroom where the defendant claimed he was growing marijuana in accordance with the requirements of MMMA. When asked if the defendant sold marijuana he replied that he did not, but that he was a caregiver for five patients who used marijuana. At trial the defendant was able to produce the MMMA cards for the five patients he was claiming to be a caregiver for, however when asked about the individual patients he was unfamiliar with their health backgrounds and could not identify the debilitating conditions that they suffered. Additionally, he was unaware of the amount of marijuana his patients were to use in order to treat their respective conditions and did not know for how long his patients should use medical marijuana

The Court held that the defendant was not entitled to immunity under §4 of the MMMA because he failed to show that he had knowledge of his patients medical conditions, he was unaware of the amount of marijuana each should receive to treat their illnesses, and he could not identify any of their physicians. Further, the court held that the defendant was unable to establish a bona fide physician-patient relationship and he was unable to present evidence that he possessed no more marijuana than reasonably necessary for the patient’s treatment both of which are required to assert an affirmative defense under §8 of the MMMA .

People v. Hartwick, Court of Appeals Docket No. 312308 (November 19, 2013).


What Happens if I Refuse a Breathalyzer?

Pursuant to Michigan’s Implied Consent Law, all drivers are deemed to have given their consent to take a Breathalyzer test upon suspicion of Operating While Intoxicated. If a driver unreasonably refuses to take the test, that person’s driver’s license will be suspended for one year, along with six points being added to their license, which happens automatically through the Michigan Secretary of State. This is a separate consequence from any convictions resulting from the traffic stop. If a driver unreasonably refuses a second Breathalyzer within seven years in violation of the Implied Consent Law, their driver’s license will be suspended for two years, along with the addition of six points to their license.

The driver can appeal the suspension to the Secretary of State within 14 days of the date of the individual’s arrest otherwise their driver’s license will be suspended. Once the appeal request is filed, the Secretary of State will notify the individual of their hearing date. This is an evidentiary hearing, at which the arresting officer will testify. The issues to be raised at the hearing include:

  1. Whether the peace officer had reasonable grounds to believe that the driver committed a crime described in MCL 257.625c(1).
  2. Whether the driver was placed under arrest for a crime described in MCL 257.625c(1).
  3. If the driver refused to submit to a chemical test upon the request of the officer, whether the refusal was reasonable.
  4. Whether the driver was advised of your rights under MCL 257.625a.

There are also limited circumstances in which a driver has not been deemed to have given implied consent to take the test, which include some medical conditions or individuals on certain medications. Depending on the outcome of the hearing, the driver may be able to appeal the finding of the Secretary of State to the Circuit Court, including a Petition for a Restricted License based on undue hardship, which is also available if the individual fails file a Request for Hearing within 14 days, even though Secretary of State will automatically suspend their license pending the hardship appeal.


What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, or domestic assault, is a crime. There are a number of other criminal offenses, in addition to domestic assault, that an individual may be charged with, including stalking, criminal sexual conduct, home invasion and malicious destruction of property.  The Violence Against Women Act, 42 USC 13931 et seq., constructed several federal crimes related to domestic violence, commissioned full faith and credit for Personal Protection Orders (PPOs), and provided specific protections for battered immigrants.  Other remedies are available through tort and civil rights actions.

Domestic violence is behavior involving physical, verbal and/or emotional assaults used by one partner against the other in an intimate relationship, such as a marriage, cohabitation, dating or within a family.  Such violence and abuse is often implemented in order to gain and maintain control. Courts in all 50 states are statutorily authorized to issue protection orders to victims of domestic violence.

In Michigan, a personal protection order (PPO) may be obtained by a victim of domestic abuse to enjoin violent behavior such as assaulting, attacking, beating, molesting, stalking, or wounding the petitioner. PPOs may also prohibit the violent party from entering certain premises, usually the victim’s home and place of employment, as well as prohibit the removal of a minor child from the legal custodian, purchasing or possessing a firearm, and any other act that causes a reasonable apprehension of violence and interferes with the personal liberty of the victim.

There are three different types of PPOs that a court may issue, depending on the type of relationship between the parties:

1.     Domestic Relationship PPO – Available if the parties are or have been married, have had a child in common, have lived together, or have dated.

2.     Stalking PPO – Available regardless of the relationship between the parties and enjoins the specific act of stalking as long as there are two or more acts of stalking.

3.     Sexual Assault PPO – New in 2010; Available when the respondent has been convicted of sexual assault or has threatened sexual assault against the petitioner, no domestic relationship exists between the parties, and there are not two or more instances of stalking.

Upon the Judge’s signature, a PPO takes immediate effect and may be enforced by any law enforcement officer in Michigan. MCL 600.2950(7),(9),(21). If the respondent should violate the order, he or she is subject to immediate arrest and may spend up to 93 days in jail, if found guilty. The PPO must be personally served on the respondent but failure to effectuate service does not affect the validity or effectiveness of the order. A motion to modify, extend or rescind the order may be filed by either party within 14 days of the PPO’s issuance. These motions are normally addressed by the court in an evidentiary hearing.



October 2013

Abood Law Firm Fights Unconstitutional Arrests

Abood Law Firm attorneys Andrew P. Abood and Jeffrey Lance Abood appeared in Court today prepared to handle an evidentiary hearing on a Motion to Suppress that Abood Law Firm attorney Carrie Cousino filed on behalf of a client. The Motion challenged whether the officer had probable cause to arrest the client for Operating While Intoxicated. Prior to starting the Hearing this morning, the City Attorney offered to dismiss the OWI and offered the Abood Law Firm’s client a Careless driving, which is a 3 point civil infraction. On the record, the City Attorney stated that the Abood Law Firm’s Motion had substantial merit and that he did not believe the People could establish probable cause.


Abood Law Firm Raises Funds for Breast Cancer

In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Abood Law Firm will make a $1 donation toThe Pink Fund for EACH NEW FAN that follows our Facebook page during the month of October. The Pink Fund’s mission is to provide short-term financial assistance to breast cancer patients in active treatment for expenses such as rent, an electric bill, etc. This local organization helps so many in our community & we proudly support their efforts.


United States Supreme Court Grants Certiorari on Drunk Driving Case

On October 1, 2013, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case of People v. Navarette (Oct. 12, 2012)(A132353). In Navarette, two citizens were stopped based on an anonymous tip that they were driving recklessly. They were ultimately arrested for transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. The citizens filed a motion to suppress arguing “that the evidence against them should have been suppressed because the anonymous tip received by police was insufficient to provide reasonable suspicion of criminal activity justifying an investigative stop of the vehicle, where the officers directly confirmed only significant innocent details of the tip but did not directly observe any illegal activity.” Id. 

The trial court denied the citizens’ motion to suppress and the Court of Appeals affirmed, articulating that

“the officers here had reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigative stop of Appellants’ vehicle. The contents of the tip supported an inference that it came from the victim of the reported reckless driving. The officers’ prompt corroboration of significant innocent details of the tip—the detailed description of the vehicle including its license plate number and the accurate description of its location and traveling direction—sufficiently established the reliability of the tip to support reasonable suspicion. Finally, the report that the vehicle had run someone off the road sufficiently demonstrated an ongoing danger to other motorists to justify the stop without direct corroboration of the vehicle’s illegal activity.” Id.

From this ruling, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the Fourth Amendment requires an officer, who receives a tip from an anonymous source that the driver of a vehicle was driving erratically, to corroborate the dangerous driving prior to effectuating a traffic stop on the vehicle.


Abood Law Firm Wins Engagement Ring for Client

Abood Law Firm won a $26,500 engagement ring on behalf of its Client during divorce proceedings. The parties were not married long and the Plaintiff husband argued that under the circumstances, he was entitled return of the engagement ring, or in the alternative, half of its value. Abood Law Firm filed a trial brief on the issue.

It is well established in Michigan that engagement rings are “considered, by their very nature, conditional gifts given in contemplation of marriage.”[1] Most courts recognize that engagement rings occupy a rather unique niche in our society.”[2] While the case of Meyer v. Mitnick,[3] analyzed ownership of an engagement ring when the engagement is broken off, the Court’s holding was instructive. The Court stated, “[i]n sum, we hold that an engagement ring given in contemplation of marriage is an impliedly conditional gift that is a completed gift only upon marriage.”[4]

Abood Law argued that in its case, there was no question that the conditional gift was completed upon marriage of the parties. Our client fulfilled the condition upon which the gift was given turning the conditional gift into an absolute and completed gift. Although there is not an abundance of case law in Michigan on whether a wedding ring is considered to be the spouse’s separate property or is considered to be marital property, Abood Law cited to other jurisdictions’ treatment of this issue wherein the majority of other courts have held that while an engagement ring is a conditional gift given in contemplation of marriage, it becomes an absolute gift to the wife upon marriage and is separate property not subject to division in a divorce.[6]

The Court ultimately agreed with Abood Law Firm and awarded the value of the ring in its entirety to our Client.

[1]Meyer v. Mitnick, 244 Mich. App 697, 702 (2001) citing Heiman v. Parrish, 262 Kan. 926, 930, 942 P.2d 631 (1997); Lindh v. Surman, 560 Pa. 1, 742 A.2d 643 (1999); McIntire v. Raukhorst, 65 Ohio App.3d 728, 585 N.E.2d 456 (1989); Aronow v. Silver, 223 N.J.Super. 344, 538 A.2d 851 (1987)

[2]Id. at 701.

[3]Meyer v. Mitnick, 244 Mich. App 697, 702 (2001)

[4]Id. at 703.

[5]           See Smith v. Smith, 797 SW2d 879 (Mo.App. 1990) Winer v. Winer, 241 N.J.Super. 510, 575 A.2d 518 (App.Div. 1990); Lipton v. Lipton, 134 Misc.2d 1076, 514 N.Y.S.2d 158 (Sup.Ct. 1986); Semasek v. Semasek, 509 Pa. 282, 502 A.2d 109 (1985); Guggenmos v. Guggenmos, 218 Neb. 746, 359 N.W.2d 87 (1984).

[6]Lipton, 134 Misc.2d at 1077, 514 N.Y.S.2d at 159-160; Winer, 241 N.J.Super. at 528, 575 A.2d at 528; Smith, 797 S.W.2d at 881.


Statutory Interpretation in Custody Cases

Any ambiguities regarding the interpretation and application of a statute is considered a question of law.  There are a number of rules that govern the analysis of statutes and, thus, it is important to retain the expertise of an attorney who has experience dissecting statutory terms when seeking rights under a particular statute.

For example, in a recently released unpublished opinion from the Michigan Court of Appeals, Book Gilbert v. McCallister, the Court reversed a lower court’s decision to deny a grandparent visitation rights under a statute which provides for limited grandparenting time with a minor child only in certain circumstances. MCL 722.27b governs grandparenting time and contains a fit parent presumption whereby if the parent having custody of the minor child is considered a fit parent, the fit parent’s decision to bar a grandparent visitation with the minor child is given deference.

However, the statute also gives grandparents grandparenting time with a minor child if the child is placed within the custody of an individual who is not the parent. In this case, the minor child had been placed within the custody of a guardian who was not the child’s biological parent. The lower court found, based upon the evidence, that the guardian was considered a fit parent under the statute and that the fit parent presumption applied. As such, if the guardian did not wish to authorize the grandparent grandparenting time, the guardian’s decision would be given deference.  The Court of Appeals found that the trial court erred and that the fit parent presumption did not apply to guardians based upon an analysis under the statutory rules of construction. Furthermore, the Court found that the statute explicitly authorized grandparenting time in instances where the minor child is within the custody of another who is not the child’s biological parent, which would include guardians. As such, the Court of Appeals, based upon its interpretation of the statute, found that the statute allowed for grandparenting time in this case and reversed the lower court’s decision.

As one can see from this case, it is important to understand the particular rules governing the interpretation and application of a statute in order to ensure that the judicial system is upholding all the rights intended under Michigan law. An attorney with experience in deconstructing statutes can help make that certain and will advocate for what the law explicitly provides for.



September 2013

Abood Law Files Objection to Court Order – Court Sets Aside Its Order

Abood Law Firm filed an Objection this week to a District Court ordering our client to produce and provide a witness list to the Government for his upcoming trial. Client was charged with a misdemeanor. Abood Law’s Objection was based around the fact that pursuant to Michigan Court Rules and Michigan Supreme Court authority, discovery is not available in misdemeanor cases, and accordingly, the Court had no authority to order Defendant to produce a witness list. After receiving our Objection, the Court set aside the Order of discovery.


Macomb County judge linked to Franklin OWI arrest by Tiffany Esshaki @ C & G News

Judge Richard Caretti could face possible child neglect probe after girlfriend’s drunken driving arrest

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

FRANKLIN — It all started with a frantic text message. Now, a Troy woman could be facing jail time for drunk driving while her boyfriend, a prominent Macomb County judge, is facing a possible child neglect investigation.

Brenda Conway, 50, has been charged with operating while intoxicated with occupants younger than 16 years old. The charge, while a misdemeanor, is more severe than a standard drunken driving charge.

Conway was arrested early in the morning Jan. 13 in the village of Franklin, according to Franklin-Bingham Farms Police Lt. William Castro, after her blood-alcohol content was found to be 0.16 percent, double the legal limit.

Conway was returning from a wedding reception in Mount Clemens that night with her companion, Macomb County Judge Richard Caretti, and his two daughters, Castro said. The vehicle was en route to take the young girls home to their mother Lori Conway’s house in Franklin. Brenda and Lori Conway are said to be distantly related through marriage, but not otherwise associated, Castro said.

According to Lori Conway, it was during that ride home that her oldest daughter, who is 15, sent a text message to her mother concerned about Brenda Conway’s supposedly erratic driving.

“She indicated that Brenda was driving and was extremely drunk and was weaving back and forth,” said Lori Conway, who then called police and notified them of the situation.

When the vehicle arrived at her house, Lori Conway said, officers were waiting. Castro said his officers noticed a strong odor of intoxicants on Brenda Conway’s breath as they approached her, and after performing several field sobriety tests, she was taken into custody. Caretti was not arrested, though Castro admits police would not allow him to drive the vehicle away.

“My ex-husband, I was told, was taken to a Tim Horton’s nearby to get a ride home because I was told he was, quote, ‘wasted,’” said Lori Conway.

Brenda Conway was due in 46th District Court Jan. 28, but the date was adjourned. According to her attorney, Jeffrey Lance Abood, a pretrial date has been set for March 4. He expects to file motions by Feb. 14 challenging the probable cause for the arrest and the basis for the stop.

“Based on our review of all the evidence, we believe the police didn’t have any probable cause to pull her over,” said Abood. “They were just waiting at Judge Caretti’s ex-wife’s house, waiting for her to arrive. Nobody had observed her driving at all.”

Abood claimed that Lori Conway is using this opportunity to hurt her ex-husband, and her and her children’s statements to police should be considered biased.

“There wasn’t a single objective witness in this case,” said Abood. “Nobody objective has come forward and said they even saw her driving, for that matter. Basically, the police didn’t observe my client driving drunk. (It should be) about what happened on the road, not what happened at the police department.”

Despite the defense, Lori Conway said what Brenda Conway is accused of doing was wrong, and she said her ex-husband is wrong for allowing it to happen.

“It’s just very disturbing. … It’s mind-boggling,” said Lori Conway. “People should know a public official that’s making decisions about other people and yet not making good decisions about the wellbeing of his children or other people on the road, for that matter.”

Brenda Conway will return to court at 8 a.m. March 4. In the meantime, Castro confirms that it was recommended Caretti be investigated by Child Protective Services for possible child abuse or neglect. Neither Caretti, nor Brenda Conway, responded to several requests for comment.


Jeffrey Lance Abood feature in StyleLine Magazine (pg. 45)



Navigating the Uncertainty of Divorce by Hour Magazine

Q: My spouse was cheating on me. Does fault matter in divorce?

A: For the most part, Michigan courts apply the “equitable division” theory, meaning that all assets acquired during the marriage are generally divided equally. However, if one person is at fault for causing the divorce by cheating or being abusive, it can make a difference in the property settlement. Fault is weighed more heavily if the actions of one party caused the divorce and there are children that were affected. Whether you or your spouse were at fault for breaking up the marriage, it is important that your attorney knows the facts in order to work in your best interest. The more that your attorney can understand you and your unique situation, the more your attorney can protect and fight for you.

-Jeffrey Lance Abood


Judge’s ex-wife blamed for his girlfriend’s drunken driving arrest by Eric D. Lawrence @ Detroit Free Press

The girlfriend of a Macomb County Circuit judge is challenging her arrest for driving under the influence while the judge and his children were in her vehicle.

Jeffrey Lance Abood, the attorney representing Brenda Conway, says the case is the work of the judge’s “bitter” ex-wife.

He said police never saw Conway, 50, driving, and instead relied on the statements — prior to the arrest — of biased witnesses.

The witnesses included Judge Richard Caretti’s ex-wife Lori Conway and his two daughters, 12 and 15.

Brenda Conway of Troy registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.18% during an initial breath test early on Jan. 13 in Franklin, according to police, who have said that officers observed her SUV traveling on Whatley Road before the arrest. Two subsequent tests also registered higher than .08%, the level at which someone can be convicted of drunken driving.

“Nobody observed her driving drunk, and we are going to be challenging it,” Abood said Tuesday. He said his client maintains her innocence. “It’s all fueled by the ex-wife. (Police) can’t rely on the statement of an ex-wife that’s obviously bitter about something.”

Abood said police were at Lori Conway’s house waiting for his client to arrive.

The decision to challenge the charge of drunken driving with occupants younger than 16 was announced during a hearing Monday in 46th District Court in Southfield. The next court hearing is scheduled for March 4.

The case has prompted an investigation by Children’s Protective Services. Abood said, “The children were never in danger. They made it safely from Point A to Point B.”

Lori Conway said she was shocked by the decision to fight the charge and has said her ex-husband should also have been charged, with child endangerment. Lori Conway said she reported the incident after receiving worrying text messages from her 15-year-old daughter. Among those messages, Lori Conway said, was one saying that Brenda Conway was “drunk beyond belief, and she’s driving … real safe.”

The girls were being driven home to Franklin from a wedding reception for a relative in Macomb County. Both girls wrote statements about the drive, their mother said, and one daughter noted that she was “scared for my life” because she thought they would drive off the road.

Brenda Conway and Lori Conway have the same last name because their husbands are cousins.

Lori Conway dismissed claims that she is a bitter ex-wife, saying she has a beautiful life with her current husband and daughters and that she reacted as any other mother would in such a situation.

“I don’t know how you would call two children being biased. Why in God’s name would my daughters give me an accounting like that?” Lori Conway said. “They would have no reason to fabricate this.”

Caretti defended the decision to allow Brenda Conway to drive.

“If I had any indication whatsoever that she may have been impaired, I would have never allowed her to drive my children. She drove because she appeared fine, and it was her vehicle,” he wrote in a statement after the arrest. “Brenda’s driving from the hall to my ex-wife’s home was excellent, as she abided by all applicable traffic laws.”


Call for Action: Brighton Man Gets Payment for Boat by Vic Faust @ Channel 7 Action News

BRIGHTON, Mich. (WXYZ) – When a Brighton man couldn’t get the final payment from a company who he sold his boat to, he reluctantly contacted the Call For Action Team.

While he feels it was the Call For Action team who got him quick results, Marine Clean attorney Jeffrey Lance Abood says that isn’t the case, and Marine Clean never bought the boat. A former employee did.

John Haskin is a retired auto worker who loves living and boating on Lake Ore.

However, his easygoing nature was tested when he decided to sell his speedboat.

He needed to get it cleaned first so he found a company that he felt did a “good job” with boats.

Marine Clean is where he took his boat. Once there, he told them he was looking to sell. John says, they offered to buy the boat, the two-sides agreed on a contract and then signed it.

John says, “They gave me a down payment, then made the next payments but I never got the final payment.”

The contract states the final payment was to be paid by July 3 rd of 2012.  John adds, “They would tell me something came up, something happened.”

John also states that he was told a payment would be coming.

Haskin says, “I was patient, but I never heard from them after a few conversations. Maybe they lost my number, but they know where I live?”

He decided to contact the Call For Action team for help.

He says he did it reluctantly because he didn’t want to cause problems for the people who bought his boat.

“They were really nice. I just wanted to the final payment, no problems for them.”  As soon as he called the CFA team, he said that very day he received a call saying that the final payment had already been mailed.

It took a few weeks for the check to arrive, but John had his money.

He says he got it because Call For Action stepped in.

However, Marine Clean attorney, Jeffrey Lance Abood says that a former employee purchased the boat. Not Marine Clean.

The company owner is Jason Martin. He signed the contract to buy the boat, but says his name is not on the title. Therefore his company is not responsible.

Also, he says that the final payment was “in the mail” before CFA contacted the company looking for the money.

Bottom line, John got his money and would still recommend Marine Clean for anyone looking to get their boat cleaned.

Read more: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/call-for-action-brighton-man-gets-payment-for-boat#ixzz2fLuteUB5


Jeffrey Lance Abood Named Best Divorce Attorney 2013 by Hour Magazine



Judge Richard Caretti’s Girlfriend Fights Drunken Driving Charge by Jamie Cook @ Macomb Daily News

Attorneys for a Macomb County judge’s girlfriend accused of drunken driving with the judge’s minor children in the vehicle are attacking the field sobriety tests administered by a police officer.

Brenda Conway’s attorneys contend that Franklin Village Police Officer Steven Thompson did not have probable cause to arrest Conway because two of the three sobriety tests he conducted were “nonstandard.”

“Failing to properly administer standardized field sobriety tests amount to a mere hunch and are not sufficient to support probable cause that defendant committed a crime,” Jeffrey Lance Abood says in a legal brief prepared for an evidentiary hearing Monday in 46th District Court in Southfield.

The two tests used – backwards counting and ABCs — are not recognized in the Standardized Field Sobriety Training Manual of 2006 endorsed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Abood says.

That is one of several arguments Conway’s attorneys are making to Judge Debra Nance in asking her to toss out evidence leading to Conway’s arrest around midnight Jan. 13 to Jan. 14 in the driveway of Macomb County Judge Richard Caretti’s ex-wife’s home in Franklin.

Caretti, Conway and Caretti’s two daughters aged 15 and 12 were riding in Conway’s Volkswagen SUV. They were coming from a Macomb Township wedding reception. Caretti’s 15-year-old daughter texted her mother, Lori Conway (no blood relation to Brenda Conway), that Brenda Conway was drunk and driving erratically. Lori Conway called police.

Caretti, who contends he did not know Conway was drunk, is being investigated for potential neglect by state Child Protective Services staffers.

Monday’s evidentiary hearing will continue March 14 when the defense may raise more objections after receiving “calibration logs” from the Breathalyzer test machine Monday. Assistant Oakland County prosecutor Boyd White III must file response briefs by next Monday.

Thompson testified at the 90-minute hearing that he initially smelled alcohol when he approached Conway in the vehicle, and that she had “bloodshot, watery eyes.”

He said he did not use two standard tests – “walk and turn” and “one leg stand” – because he could not find a level area in Lori Conway’s circular driveway. So he said he opted for two legitimate alternatives. He asked Conway to count backward from 72 to 56, and she started at 72 but didn’t stop until she reached 50, he said. He asked to recite the alphabet, starting at F and stopping at P. She started at E and stopped at P, he said.

Abood and his partner, Andrew Abood, contend those tests are not recognized as sobriety tests, and that Conway’s errors were minor. Thompson agreed with Andrew Abood that Conway could have been nervous since, “She was in the driveway of her boyfriend’s ex-wife, and the police were there.”

Thompson also implemented the “horizontal gaze nystagmus,” an accepted method in which he held his finger or pen 12 to 15 inches in front of Conway’s nose and moved the stimulus sideways. It is designed to detect “involuntary jerking of the eyes when alcohol is in the system,” he said.

“I observed all indicators of alcohol being present,” he said.

Andrew Abood during cross-examination critiqued Thompson’s execution of the test.

The Aboods also contend that police had insufficient cause to investigate Conway based on Lori Conway’s second-hand claim. No officer witnessed Brenda Conway’s driving, they note.

“Lori Conway made that statement based on no personal knowledge,” Jeffrey Abood says.

Thompson testified he responded to a “welfare check” call and upon arrival listened to Lori Conway’s claims. When the suspect vehicle drove up and stopped, he said he saw the two girls “jump out of the car and run to the house … in such a quick manner.”

Andrew Abood said Thompson erred by failing to interview the youths and instead pursued investigating Conway.

The Aboods also contend that Thompson failed to closely watch Conway during a 15-minute “observation period” before issuing the preliminary Breathalyzer when she could have belched or “placed anything in her mouth,” and affected the results.

In two Breathalyzer tests administered later at the Beverly Hills police station, Conway’s blood-alcohol content was .16 and .15 percent, Thompson said.


Ambassador Magazine Features Opening of Abood Law Firm – Birmingham, Michigan

“In addition to a conference room, we wanted a small, private space for meetings and depositions, so we developed a wine room,” says award-winning divorce attorney Jeffrey Lance Abood. He plans to stock the after-work and weekend wine rack with his favorite Massaya, a smooth and vibrant red from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. This small family winery, like Abood Law Firm, is second-generation family run.

Original artwork reflects the upbeat vibe in the office and reveals interesting little facts about the lawyers behind the desks. An iconic piece by Philadelphia-based artist Bruce Reinfeld, whom Jeffrey Lance Abood met at a recent Arts Beats & Eats festival, is a stylized film negative finished with brightly colored accents on a large canvas. In true Americana form, it shows a Route 66 sign pointing to Joplin, Missouri, Jeffrey Lance Abood’s hometown.


With a recent commitment to truly paperless work, the entire office has migrated to Apple computers and each attorney is equipped with a laptop, iPhone and iPad.

“This technology makes us more mobile. We can quickly and easily share documents with our clients,” says Jeffrey Lance Abood. In addition to seamless compatibility with the partners’ iPhones, this new technology helps the firm provide clients and their cases with an important digital advantage.

In order to be truly available to clients at all times, the partners have included their cellphone numbers on their business cards.“Clients always want to be able to talk with their attorneys directly, rather than having to go through several people. This way, we can be reached at any time by our clients,”says Jeffrey Lance Abood.



For the partners of Abood Law Firm, a move to a new office in Birmingham is a grand expansion into metro Detroit. A tradition started in 1956 in downtown Lansing, and now based in East Lansing, the firm already enjoys a strong presence across Michigan’s lower peninsula, according to partner Andrew Abood, who, together with his brother Fredric“Joe”Abood and cousin Jeffrey Lance Abood, represent clients across the state.

“During the average week, it’s not unusual for me to be in Petoskey, Cheboygan, Mount Pleasant, Grand Rapids and now, we have really expanded into Detroit,”says Andrew Abood.“We are very pleased with the Birmingham market and excited about being able to provide the types of services we have provided in central Michigan and across the state.”

Primarily trial lawyers, Abood Law Firm specializes in criminal defense, commercial litigation, catastrophic injury, alcohol-related offenses, divorce, custody and support, yet the firm works to each client’s need, calling on the expertise of each partner and associate.


The Birmingham office was selected after a four-year search for a convenient location, mere steps from the many restaurants and vibrant downtown district. With a balcony overlooking Old Woodward Avenue, the new space was designed by local architect and designer Constantine George Pappas, and features colored glass, polished concrete floors, a granite conference table and onyx-topped desks, plus little extras that make the office unique.

With the recent expansion into the Detroit area, Abood Law Firm continues its commitment to charitable giving. In November 2012, the firm sponsored The Little Black Dress Charity Soiree at Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel to benefit CARE House, a resource for the prevention of child neglect and abuse.

In addition, Andrew Abood’s unique experience with high profile cases has given him the expertise of handling the media, a skill he shares with fellow attorneys during informative seminars.


Abood Law Firm’s strength is its family ties. One of 10 children, Andrew and his brother Fredric“Joe”Abood are among seven siblings to become lawyers.“That’s very unique,”says Andrew Abood. Father Fredric Abood founded the firm and included his sons Fredric and Andrew when they passed the bar.“We have been trained by some great lawyers; they were able to pass down their knowledge and we have been able to not just stay in business, but thrive. Much of this is due to client loyalty.”

Though the climate of the past 10 years has been tough for attorneys, Abood Law Firm has continued to practice at a high level, according to Andrew Abood. Notably, he worked on the very high-profile case of Drew Peterson, the Chicago-area police sergeant who was charged with the first-degree murder of his third wife.

Andrew Abood admits feeling pleasantly surprised when the Abood name is recognized in Detroit area courts, but he says all associates at Abood Law Firm hold themselves to the very highest standards in their practice.

“Ultimately, it’s not the last name that provides tenure. It’s the content of your character and your ability to represent clients on a very high level,”says Andrew Abood. page1image44832— Claire Charlton


Going Through a Divorce?

Unfortunately, not all marriages have fairy-tale endings. Therefore, you need to protect yourself so that you may still experience a fairy-tale life after divorce.

The only thing worse than going through a divorce is staying in a bad marriage. Making the decision to obtain a divorce can be extremely stressful. It is important that you know all the facts, both emotionally and legally – and you really can’t know all the aspects of a divorce unless you have been advised regarding property settlement, child support, and spousal support. Therefore, it is never too soon to meet with an attorney regarding these issues.


When you have exhausted any chance of reconciliation, before your spouse does. Although, as a matter of law, documents and take them to your attorney so you may begin the divorce process strategically to preserve the marital estate by obtaining a mutual restraining order to prohibit dissipation of assets by your spouse.


The most important decision is selecting a lawyer. Your lawyer will be the person with whom you have the most ultimately, your lawyer will be the one who protects and attorney who is easily accessible, with whom you are comfortable, and has the knowledge and expertise to guide you personally and professionally during what your life.


have children, it may be best to stay living at the marital home during your divorce case. There are situations, however, where it may be better for you to leave the your bags, make sure you consult with your attorney to make sure that you are making the right decision and protecting yourself.


Well, for the most part, Michigan courts apply the acquired by either party during the marriage are divided causing the divorce by cheating or being abusive, it can make a difference in the property settlement. Fault is weighed more heavily if the actions of one party caused the divorce and there are children that were affected.


Divorce is unlike any other litigation. It can be extremely personal, involving almost any and all aspects of your personal life. First and foremost, you should take care of yourself. Remember, if your spouse still put you not be swayed or manipulated by your spouse during this vulnerable time in your life. Surround yourself with positive people and listen to the advice of your attorney.

From a legal standpoint, the most important part of a divorce is the discovery process. That is the time when your attorney will be able to discover the assets that your spouse has that you may not have known about. It is imperative that your attorney is aggressive and

Remember, the only thing worse than going through a divorce is staying in a bad marriage.



August 2013

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, is a process designed to resolve legal disputes outside of the judicial court procedure. Generally, there are a number of benefits for choosing an ADR method of resolution, as ADR can be considerably less expensive, less public, and more expeditious than litigation. Furthermore, ADR is meant to provide more client participation and control over the outcome of the case as opposed to leaving the fate of the case in the Court’s hands. One method of ADR is known as Case Evaluation, and is often ordered by the Court as a mandatory method of ADR in a case.[1]

Case Evaluation is a forum established by the court, which is designed to settle the case.  Three independent lawyers review briefs submitted by each side, listen to the arguments on behalf of each party, and then place a value on a case known as a Case Evaluation award. No party is obligated to accept a Case Evaluation award, and if any party rejects the Case Evaluation the matter will proceed to trial.

However, Michigan Rules of Court provide an incentive to accept the award. If one party rejects and one party accepts, and the matter proceeds to trial, then the rejecting party must receive a verdict that is 10% more favorable to the rejecting party or the rejecting party will be ordered by the Court, after the verdict is entered, to pay the non-rejecting party’s actual costs (including reasonable attorney fees) as a sanction.

Mediation or facilitation is another method of ADR and is the most flexible process and allows the parties and their attorneys to exercise the most control over the potential outcome. In mediation, a third-party neutral assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. The key distinction that sets this process apart from the others is that mediation focuses more on finding a solution rather than fault, and the third-party does not impose a decision upon the settling parties but rather helps find a resolution that is considered suitable to both parties. Should the parties fail to reach an agreement during mediation, the case then proceeds to trial.

[1]           MCR 2.403.


United States Supreme Court Defines the Warrant Requirement in Blood Draw DUI Cases

It is well established that a search and seizure without a warrant is unreasonable per se and violates the Fourth Amendment of the Federal and State constitution unless shown to be within one of the exceptions to the rule. The burden is always on the Government to establish that a search and seizure without a warrant falls within one of the narrow exceptions. One recognized exception applies when “‘the exigencies of the situation’ make the needs of law enforcement so compelling that a warrantless search is objectively reasonable.” Missouri v. McNeely, 133 S.Ct. 1552, 1558 (2013). In the recent case of McNeely, the United States Supreme Court held that with respect to a warrantless blood draw of an individual suspected of operating while intoxicated that “in drunk-driving investigations, the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream does not constitute an exigency in every case sufficient to justify conducting a blood test without a warrant.” Id. at 1568. The Abood Law Firm relied on this decision recently, in part, where a police officer improperly obtained consent from a citizen by advising the citizen incorrectly that there would be penalties imposed on the citizen if the citizen didn’t consent to the blood draw.  The Court found that absent a warrant, the improperly obtained consent resulted in the blood draw not being voluntary and the blood draw was subsequently suppressed.  The prosecutor ultimately dismissed the case.


Ionia County Citizen Wins FOIA Lawsuit

An Ionia County citizen won her Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuit against the Michigan State Police in the Michigan Court of Appeals. After being pulled over by the Michigan State Police for a routine traffic stop, she submitted a July 2008 FOIA request to the State Police seeking a copy of the dashboard videotape. The Michigan State Police denied her FOIA request stating that the in-car video no longer existed. However, in October 2008, 3 months after the Michigan State Police claimed the videotape did not exist, the in-car videotape was produced by the prosecutor in a hearing for a related matter. The Court of Appeals held that the Michigan State Police acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it denied her request and as a result, she was awarded punitive damages as provided by the FOIA statute.