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Thread: Open meeting violations

  1. #1
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    Dateline Monroe county county building houses more than COURTS planing , clerks , HR personal ,etc .Last night I found about 5-7 open meeting violation thought for fun toss in armed guard post where as you inter from outside x-ray all and wand and pat down and take away nail clippers , boy scout knife , pen knife etc.Under table local layers say I am right and would O M Act violation and go for it . THOUGHTS please . Have time need thoughts thank you !newspaper will post interview

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    taxwhat wrote:
    Dateline Monroe county county building houses more than COURTS planing , clerks , HR personal ,etc .Last night I found about 5-7 open meeting violation thought for fun toss in armed guard post where as you inter from outside x-ray all and wand and pat down and take away nail clippers , boy scout knife , pen knife etc.Under table local layers say I am right and would O M Act violation and go for it . THOUGHTS please . Have time need thoughts thank you !newspaper will post interview











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    By Thomas Marcetti, Staff Writer
    Hillsdale Daily News
    Posted Jun 18, 2008 @ 03:31 PM


    Hillsdale, Mich. —
    The Hillsdale County Courthouse is not undergoing major renovations but some recent changes may catch your eye next time you visit.

    More specifically, you might notice the lack of signs prohibiting firearms in the courthouse.

    Circuit Court Judge Michael Smith said the decision was made about a month ago.
    “Nothing happened,” he said. “I consulted with Judge (Michael) Nye and he had no problem with it.”

    Smith said courthouses are not exempt under the concealed weapon statute and therefore there is no way to lawfully prohibit people with the proper license to carry a concealed weapon.

    “When you think about it, it’s contrary to state law,” he said. “I know the Supreme Court passed an exemption to keep them out of courthouses, but that goes against state law and last time I checked the courts aren’t the ones who can make laws.”

    Smith said there has never been a problem before and he does not foresee one in the future...........................[font=""]The judge wrote a letter to editor clarifying what he did. That letter is below.

    [/font]Gun ban remains in courtrooms
    Dear Editor,


    I wish to address information that was reported in the June 18 edition of the Hillsdale Daily News regarding the removal of a sign prohibiting weapons in the Courthouse. My removal of the sign and comments regarding the same did not pertain to the courtrooms within the Courthouse.


    In 2001, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order prohibiting weapons “in any courtroom, office or other space used for official court business.” The Supreme Court has unquestioned authority to set rules for safety and security within judicial branch facilities. Consistent with the Supreme Court’s order, I signed an administrative order in 2002, which remains in effect, prohibiting weapons in the county courtrooms or other space used for official court business.


    The Supreme Court recognized in its 2001 order that many state courts share space with other local government entities and encouraged local courts to collaborate with those entities in developing a weapons policy. My comments were meant to clarify that our court could not unilaterally ban weapons in space used by other units of government. Absent a county policy adopted by the County Board of Commissioners, the single sign was removed from the west door of the Courthouse. The sign prohibiting weapons remains on the courtroom door.


    In summary, weapons are still prohibited from the county courtrooms and other space used for court business. Signs will continue to be posted on the courtroom notifying the public of this fact. I trust that this explanation clarifies any misunderstanding of the court’s weapon policy.


    Sincerely,
    Michael R. Smith
    Circuit Court Judge


  3. #3
    Michigan Moderator Big Gay Al's Avatar
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    Ok, so does Monroe County have the entire building declared as a gun free zone?

    Big Gay Al
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    Big Gay Al wrote:
    Ok, so does Monroe County have the entire building declared as a gun free zone?
    No. The sign from the main door has been removed. The courtroom itself, and adjacent court offices/meeting rooms/chambers/holding cells, are weapon-free zones. If I were to walk in, and head to a clerk's office(not affiliated with the Monroe County Court), I would be well within my right to carry my weapon. If I was to walk into the courtroom, I would have to remove the weapon, or risk being arrested.

    Hope that's clearer than the "legal-ese" the judge put out.

    *S*

    *edited to add my *S*

  5. #5
    Michigan Moderator Big Gay Al's Avatar
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    azebolsky wrote:
    Big Gay Al wrote:
    Ok, so does Monroe County have the entire building declared as a gun free zone?
    No. The sign from the main door has been removed. The courtroom itself, and adjacent court offices/meeting rooms/chambers/holding cells, are weapon-free zones. If I were to walk in, and head to a clerk's office(not affiliated with the Monroe County Court), I would be well within my right to carry my weapon. If I was to walk into the courtroom, I would have to remove the weapon, or risk being arrested.

    Hope that's clearer than the "legal-ese" the judge put out.

    *S*

    *edited to add my *S*
    Ok, are we talking about Monroe County or Hillsdale County? Reason I ask, taxwhat is questioning about Monroe County based on what Hillsdale county is doing. The judge quoted in the above message is from Hillsdale County.
    Big Gay Al
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  6. #6
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    CORRECT hillsdale ok

  7. #7
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    OK buckaroos step up monroenews.com tap on lawsuit read and post please

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    Article published at MonroeNews.com on Sep 15, 2008
    County could face possible lawsuit

    Exeter Township resident Jan Jay says he seriously is considering filing suit against Monroe County for several issues that he says are violating the Constitution.

    Mr. Jay last week renewed several of his concerns regarding the Monroe County Board of Commissioners holding meetings in places other than Monroe. He also brought up new concerns over how the public must pass through metal detectors and by security guards to enter the courthouse. He says that provision of a judge's order goes too far - a claim disputed by Monroe County Chief Circuit Judge Joseph A. Costello Jr., who says his opinion is supported by the Michigan Supreme Court.

    "I plan on doing it (filing a suit) Monday (today) or Tuesday if they don't come up with an answer," he said last week. "They've had enough time.

    "I'm serious about this. It's an issue that needs to be addressed."

    The county board met for regular meetings in Frenchtown and Bedford townships earlier this year. Mr. Jay contends that the board's bylaws clearly state the exact time, date and location of each meeting. The bylaws do not mention meetings in locales other than the courthouse. What's more, he says, the state's Open Meetings Act makes provisions for a public body to meet outside of the county seat for special meetings, town hall meetings or informal meetings. Regular meetings that have actual business conducted, however, must be done in the county seat, he says.

    Mr. Jay, a former police officer, cites several examples, attorney rulings and court documents and presented those findings to the board.

    Board Chairman William Sisk says he intends to give the county's attorneys up to a week to answer Mr. Jay's concern - and plans to make those opinions public - but says he doesn't feel the county has violated any law.

    "I told Mr. Jay, ‘You've had weeks to prepare this ... and you spring it on us.' I'm going to give our attorney seven days. I'm not going to shoot from the hip on this," Mr. Sisk said.

    Mr. Sisk said he feels the county has been okay in staging board meetings in various locations as a way to bring the county government closer to the citizens.

    "He's got every right in the world to file a suit," Mr. Sisk said. "I just don't think he's right."

    As for the courthouse entry system, Mr. Jay says he has found legal opinions in other counties that says access can be restricted to courtrooms and judges can make certain no one has a weapon entering a courtroom. However, that same restriction is not intended for people entering other courthouse offices, such as the clerk's office.

    Judge Costello said a local court order issued in 2001 states in the first paragraph that "No weapons are allowed in the courthouse." He cited a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that allows such rules to be enacted.

    After the 38th Circuit Court issued the order that disallowed weapons from the entire courthouse, it was supported in writing by the Michigan Supreme Court. Judge Costello said Wednesday that based on the Supreme Court's own administrative order and its support of the local ruling, he believes the Monroe courts are legally allowed to ban all weapons from the entire courthouse, not just courtrooms.

    "Pursuant to the local administrative order and approved by the Michigan Supreme Court, no weapons are allowed in the courthouse," he said.

    In June, a Hillsdale County judge ordered a no-guns sign removed from its courthouse, according to a story in the Jackson Citizen-Patriot. Circuit Court Judge Michael Smith told the newspaper that courthouses were not exempt from a state law involving carrying concealed-weapons and lifted the ban as long as people were properly licensed.

    But Judge Costello said that anything a judge does in another county does not necessarily apply to Monroe or any other Michigan county.

    "Whatever happened in Hillsdale does not apply to any other county, including Monroe," Judge Costello said.

    The county board began discussing courthouse security years ago, and a plan was approved in 1995 to close off all but one entrance to the courthouse. It wasn't until 2001, however, that the full security measures were implemented, including installing the metal detector at the entry of the courthouse and hiring security guards.

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    It sincerely bothers me when a place like a courthouse or a top government body (remember, "For the people") blatantly ignores the laws. Isn't a court supposed to be the place where "the law" means more than anywhere else? Shouldn't a judge and the people who work in a court be held to the absolute highest standard of abiding by the law? Shouldn't a judge and the people who work in a court be the people most interested in protecting the rights of the citizens?

    If there is a law (a legal law) on the books that says the meetings should be at x location, then for god's sake, have them at location x. Were the by-laws written just as an excercise? If a different peice of the by-laws was blatantly ignored, would the powers that be so easily ignore the violation?

    If there is a law (again, a legal law) that precludes firearms in courtrooms or court buildings, then follow and enforcethe law - in every court and court house in Michigan. If there is not, then how dare anyone tell a person not to. I understand safety is a concern, but are the people really willing to give up their rights for safety - god, I hope not. The more that I think about this peice, the more angry I get. If there is one place in the world where we should expect to be able to excercise our rights without persecution, it is in the buildings that we have elected to build with the people that we have elected to govern our society.

    Ben

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