Originally from the PRN Blog.
Kurt Bouwhuis, Mackinac Center Intern
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy went to Macomb Township to conduct an interview with the parties involved in the Michael’s case. Both Dolores and Ron Michaels were thrown in jail for 6 days, and were recently released. They were jailed because of “noncompliance” on a consent agreement. Our first interview was with Dolores Michaels and her attorney, Cindy Victor.
The Michaels claim they did comply with the consent agreement, while township thought otherwise. We discovered that the judge (the only person that had the power to release the Michaels from prison) happened to be on vacation the week the Michaels went to jail. Macomb Township did not accept legal documentation from Cindy Victor which would keep the Michaels out of jail until the judge returned. Cindy was willing to pay the filing fee, yet Macomb Township would not accept the paperwork. (By law, Macomb Township must accept all requests as long as the citizen is willing to pay the filing fee.)
While in Jail, the Michaels were held in “lock down”, which means they could not accept any visitors, including their lawyer. Ron Michaels just recently had surgery and had a catheter. Due to his health condition, he was held in the infirmary for the majority of the time, where he contracted a urinary track infection. Dolores Michaels lost weight and had numerous bug bites all over her body.
After the interview with Cindy and Dolores, we went to interview Lawrence Dloski, who is the township attorney. He stated Macomb Township never wanted to throw the Michaels in jail, yet he did not hesitate to throw the Michaels in jail while the judge was on vacation. He also seemed to think that a license plate qualified as compost.
We talked to Patrick Wright, the Mackinac Center’s Senior Legal Analyst about the outcomes of the Michael’s case. He stated that there was nothing legally binding Macomb Township to throwing the Michaels in jail. The township could have easily issued a $7500 fine, which would have helped avoid throwing a non-violent, 60-year-old couple in jail. This also would have granted the Michaels the ability to clean their property to Macomb’s standards. Instead, the Michaels sat in jail while friends and family desperately cleaned up the lot.
A link to the new Michaels video will be provided shortly.