Issue 17 | April - June 2022 | Q3         
Summer Fun!

CVLAP domestic violence and elder abuse attorneys from around the state gathered at Hilltop Views Farm in Williamston for a summer retreat filled with sun, food, and lots of laughter!

(Clockwise from left): Laura Kubit, Michael Kiehne, Jamila Odeh, and Jessica Rundle
Staff Updates
New Staff

Janet Brazelton - Monroe (Elder)
Johna Willis - Holland (Elder)

We are so happy Janet and Johna have joined the CVLAP team!
Departing  Staff
Taylor Karam - Flint (DV)
Amany Rishmawi - Lansing (Elder)

Many thanks to Taylor and Amany for their excellent work at CVLAP!
Job Postings
CVLAP currently has open Staff Attorney positions in the following offices: 
Battle Creek (elder), Lansing (elder), Mt. Clemens (elder), Battle Creek (DV), Detroit (DV), Jackson (DV), and Muskegon (DV).  
For more information or to share our postings, please visit the MAP job page here.
Quarter In Review 
     In the 3rd quarter of 2022 (April - June) CVLAP attorneys assisted 846 survivors of domestic violence and/or elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. 
  We are incredibly proud of our amazing staff attorneys across the state and want to share some of the good stories (see below) that exemplify the amazing and much needed advocacy that makes this project so vital.
Excellence in Advocacy
 Michael Kiehne, CVLAP-DV Attorney in the Monroe office of Legal Services of South Central Michigan, assisted a domestic violence survivor to get her minor children back from the opposing party, who was refusing to follow the parenting time and custody order. Prior to contacting the office, client had filed a show cause motion; but the hearing was not set until over a month later. Client also contacted local law enforcement, Toledo law enforcement (where opposing party was keeping the children), and CPS.  Client was told there was nothing they could do without a court order.
   Michael then became involved in the case, and filed a Ex Parte Motion.  The Court issued an Ex Parte Order for immediate return of the children, with specific language ordering any police department to use any force necessary to ensure the safe return of the children.  Shortly thereafter, the show cause hearing was held and opposing party returned the minor children to client the following day.
 Roger West, CVLAP-Elder Attorney in the Dearborn office of Lakeshore Legal Aid, assisted a client referred to him by the long-term care ombudsman's office.  Client was seeking to return to her senior apartment, where she had previously been living independently.  Initially, client's request to transfer was denied and her case was closed without a formal interview or further review.
     Roger became involved with the case, and contacted the client's caseworker.  Roger advocated to have the transfer request reconsidered.  As a result, a transition conference was held, and stakeholders gathered information regarding client's ability and the available resources to support client's return to her apartment.  It was determined that in-home services could be provided to client and that she could safely transition to her apartment.   Client is now back in her apartment and in good spirits!

Elder Justice Update
By Alison Hirschel
Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Task Force Creates Guardianship Diversion Project Planning Committee
     A new subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Task Force will plan pilot projects for several probate courts to divert individuals from guardianship to less restrictive alternatives. The goal of the guardianship diversion project will be to assist alleged incapacitated individuals in obtaining both legal and practical solutions to the issues they face so they can avoid guardianship. Legal alternatives may include powers of attorney, patient advocate designations, personal protection orders, representative payees, conservatorships, or protective orders. Referrals for services and supports including public benefits, home and community based services, mental health services, medical care, and other resources might also provide alternatives to guardianship.
     While the subcommittee is just beginning its work and neither pilot sites nor a model for the pilot projects have been identified, diverse stakeholders, including some judges, the AG’s office, disability rights groups, probate registers, and others have already enthusiastically embraced the idea. The Fourth National Guardianship Summit last year included in its recommendations support for the creation of guardianship diversion projects. And very similar projects in Michigan and Ohio were funded by the federal Administration on Aging (now the Administration for Community Living) more than 30 years ago. Although those programs were successful and involved screening of alleged incapacitated individuals by social workers at the Area Agency on Aging, the projects were eventually terminated due to lack of funding and political issues. The Michigan Elder Justice Initiative has applied for a grant from the Michigan Health Endowment to support the planning of the project and hopes that both the planning process and, eventually, the pilot projects will be funded.
Attorney General Launches New Initiative to Identify and Pursue Financial Exploitation of Nursing Home Residents
     The Attorney General’s Office has launched a new project to address financial exploitation of nursing home residents. The effort, which is part of the Elder Abuse Task Force’s second set of initiatives, encourages nursing homes to report situations in which non-payment of residents’ bills raises suspicion that the resident may be the victim of financial exploitation. Nursing home staff can utilize a new portal to provide information regarding suspected exploitation directly to the Health Care Fraud division of the AG’s office. Although the project is very new, the Health Care Fraud division has already received approximately a dozen referrals from nursing home staff and investigators are reviewing those complaints. Representatives of the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative will soon meet with staff from the AG’s office to determine how they can collaborate on these investigations to assist in cases in which nonpayment does not result from any criminal intent and to determine if they can protect residents from involuntary discharge for non-payment.
Domestic Violence Update
By Rebecca Shiemke
New law enacted to reduce “trolling”
     The new law, 2022 PA 175, provides that “[b]eginning October 1, 2022, a complaint for divorce filed with the court shall not be made available to the public until the proof of service has been filed with the court.”
      The intent of the law is to reduce a practice referred to as “trolling,” when some attorneys search new divorce filings and send direct mail solicitations to Defendants offering to represent them in the divorce action.  As a result, many Defendants learn about the divorce before the Plaintiff can arrange service. The practice puts domestic violence survivors at risk during the time after filing but before service, when they are putting in place a safety plan.  Trolling also enables defendants to dissipate marital assets, sometimes before the court can enter and plaintiff serve an order protecting assets.
      Prohibiting the public’s access to court-filed divorce complaints will prevent attorneys from gathering defendant addresses and alerting defendants about a divorce before they can be properly serviced. Thus, increasing protection for survivors and all parties’ access to marital resources.

Presumption of equal parenting time bills unlikely to pass
     House Bills 5459 and 5460 were introduced early in the 2021-22 legislative session, which ends on December 31st.  The joint custody bills have not had a legislative hearing and given the limited time remaining in this legislative session, are not likely to progress through the legislative process.  If the bills are still pending as of the 31st, they will not survive into the new session beginning in January and new bills must be introduced.  
      The bills would amend the child custody act to create a presumption that it is in the best interests of a child for the court to award equal parenting time to each parent.  The presumption may be rebutted only by clear and convincing evidence that equal parenting time is not in the best interest of the child.  Thanks to the hard work of many domestic violence advocates and others across the state who recognize the harm that the presumption creates for domestic violence survivors, we have been successful in holding off the push toward mandatory joint custody in Michigan.

SCAO Forms Revisions
      The Notice of Hearing on Petition for PPO (CC 381) was modified to correct the language regarding service of the petition and to correspond with MCR 3.705(B)(2), which permits service one day before a hearing in some cases. 
     The Default Request and Entry (
MC 07) was modified to add a notary requirement to the attorney/party signature block, because the default request includes a nonmilitary affidavit, which is required to be notarized.
     The Verified Financial Information Form (
CC320) was modified to include additional instructions advising both parties of their responsibilities under MCR 3.206 and to add a self-employed party’s 12-month draw to employment information.

Court decision limits petitioner’s role in PPO violation hearings
      In In re LT, ___ Mich App ___ (No. 356667, 6/23/2022), the Court of Appeals held that respondent was denied the right to a fair hearing because the trial court allowed petitioner to prosecute contempt proceedings initiated by a show-cause order unrepresented by a prosecutor or retained counsel contrary to MCL 764.15b and MCR 3.708(G).
Training & Webinar Opportunities
Below are links (click on the pictures) to various organizations that provide training opportunities on issues that affect survivors of domestic violence and elder, abuse, neglect and exploitation. 
Domestic Violence Initiative
Rebecca Shiemke - Consulting Attorney
Emily Miller - Managing Attorney
Kathleen Allen - Supervising Attorney
Kendall Dingwall - Supervising Attorney
Ruby Robinson - Supervising Attorney
Shantell Belcher - Staff Attorney
Shacara Burrel - Law Graduate
Sylvia Esparza-Casciano - Staff Attorney
Nathan Frischkorn - Staff Attorney
Michael Kiehne - Staff Attorney
Ana Kolosova - Staff Attorney
Meredith Luneack - Staff Attorney
Sokainah Mahmutovic - Staff Attorney
Lauren McNabb - Staff Attorney
Jamila Odeh - Staff Attorney
Jessica Rundle - Staff Attorney
Stephanie Saad - Staff Attorney
Jennifer Sheldon - Staff Attorney

Cat Villanueva - Staff Attorney
Elder Justice Initiative
Alison  Hirschel - Consulting Attorney
Emily Miller - Managing Attorney
Kathleen Allen - Supervising Attorney
Kendall Dingwall - Supervising Attorney
Nicole Shannon - Systemic Advocacy
Janet Brazelton - Staff Attorney
Natalie Cherry - Staff Attorney
Toi Dennis - Staff Attorney 
Laura Kubit - Staff Attorney
Brittany  Paulk - Staff Attorney
Jennifer Sheldon - Staff Attorney
Eryka Symington - Staff Attorney

Roger West - Staff Attorney
Johna Willis - Staff Attorney

The Crime Victims Legal Assistance Project is funded by a Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (“VOCA”) grant from the Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to the Michigan Advocacy Program.
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Michigan Advocacy Program / CVLAP Elder + DV · P.O. Box 8294 · Ann Arbor, MI 48107 · USA

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