‘50% is a disgrace.’ Attorneys critique Whitmer kidnap plot trial conviction rate

Correction: This story incorrectly indicated the Hutaree defendants were found not guilty at a bench trial; however, the judge issued a directed verdict of not guilty. It was a jury trial.

LANSING, MI — Five of 14 men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer were found innocent.

Considering the personnel, money and time that went into investigating and prosecuting the plotters over a three-year period in multiple states, numerous Michigan cities and three different courts, some attorneys tell MLive the results were underwhelming.

All three men who opted for jury trials in Antrim County — Eric Molitor, 39, of Cadillac; Michael Null, 41, of Plainwell, and twin brother William Null, 41, of Shelbyville — were cleared on charges of contributing material support to a terrorist plan and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony on Sept. 15.

Following the verdict, “one of the jurors came up and gave my client a handshake and a short hug and just said, you know what, I’m so sorry for all that you went through,” said attorney William Barnett, who represented Molitor.

In total, five men were found not guilty (two in federal court and three in Antrim County); Five were convicted by juries (two in federal court and three in Jackson County); and four pleaded guilty as a condition of deals they accepted from prosecutors (two in federal court and two in Antrim County).

According to Pew Research analysis of federal court results in fiscal year 2018, less than 1% of all cases that went to trial resulted in not-guilty verdicts.

There are no readily available conviction statistics for Michigan courts, although attorneys agree the conviction rate in state court is lower than in federal court.

In the kidnap plot case, 50% of the men who went

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Marijuana dispensary MedMen argues since federal law still outlaws pot, federal judge can’t order it to pay back rent

Sued for nearly $1 million in back rent, a national cannabis chain says a federal judge can’t order it to pay up because its business isn’t even allowed to operate under federal law.

The rental contract for a Fulton Market storefront therefore “cannot be enforced in [federal] court,” contends MedMen, a California-based company.

But the landlord, Thor Equities, said Illinois law actually closes that potential loophole and insists the lease is both “valid and enforceable.”

The novel legal battle is shaping up in the Southern District of New York, where Thor Equities filed a lawsuit in July after MedMen allegedly stopped paying rent under a 15-year lease it signed in 2019.

Thor filed the lawsuit in the New York federal court because it is headquartered and registered in New York City. But US District Judge J. Paul Oetken questioned whether the lawsuit belonged there and said he was inclined to dismiss it.

Thor, a real estate and leasing company, responded by saying it might shift its legal action to a state court in California, where MedMen is based and where cannabis sales are legal, according to court documents.

MedMen argued Thor is just “shopping” for a better playing field and said it can’t pick a new forum.

Thor “elected to commence this action in this court,” MedMen said in a letter filed with the court. “Now” [it] wants to dismiss this action and commence a separate action in California state court where [it] apparently believes it has a better chance of prevailing.”

MedMen contends the lawsuit should stay in federal court, where the company says the judge has no choice but to dismiss it. MedMen said it is not disputing the lease, but the federal court’s ability to enforce it.

“US [Thor] well knows … it is not entitled

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home to avoid being served with subpoena, court record says

In an affidavit, a process server said that the state’s top attorney tried to evade him as he attempted to deliver a subpoena from an abortion fund’s lawsuit.

THE TEXAS TRIBUNE – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home in a truck driven by his wife, state Mon. Angela Paxtonto avoid being served a subpoena Monday, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

Ernesto Martin Herrera, a process server, was trying to serve the state’s top attorney with a subpoena for a federal court hearing Tuesday in a lawsuit from nonprofits that want to help Texans pay for abortions out of state. Later on Monday, Paxton filed a motion to seal the affidavit, arguing that the server “loitered at the Attorney General’s home for over an hour, repeatedly shouted at him, and accosted” Paxton and his wife. US District Judge Robert Pitman granted the motion early Tuesday, hours after the affidavit had been published.

When Herrera arrived at Paxton’s home in McKinney on Monday morning, he told a woman who identified herself as Angela that he was trying to deliver legal documents to the attorney general. She told him that Paxton was on the phone and unable to come to the door. Herrera said he would wait.

Nearly an hour later, a black Chevrolet Tahoe pulled into the driveway, and 20 minutes after that, Ken Paxton exited the house.

“I walked up the driveway approaching Mr. Paxton and called him by his name. As soon as he saw me and heard me call his name out, he turned around and RAN back inside the house through the same door in the garage,” Herrera wrote in the sworn affidavit.

Angela Paxton then exited the house, got inside a Chevrolet truck in the driveway, started it

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Texas AG Paxton fled his home to avoid being served subpoena

In an affidavit, a process server said that the state’s top attorney tried evading him as he attempted to deliver a subpoena from an abortion fund’s lawsuit.

MCKINNEY, Texas — This story originally appeared in the Texas Tribune.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton fled his home in a truck driven by his wife, state Mon. Angela Paxtonto avoid being served a subpoena Monday, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

Ernesto Martin Herrera, a process server, was trying to serve the state’s top attorney with a subpoena for a federal court hearing Tuesday in a lawsuit from nonprofits that want to help Texans pay for abortions out of state.

When Herrera arrived at Paxton’s home in McKinney on Monday morning, a woman who identified herself as Angela told him that Paxton was on the phone and unable to come to the door. Herrera said he would wait.

Nearly an hour later, a black Chevrolet Tahoe pulled into the driveway, and 20 minutes after that, Ken Paxton exited the house.

“I walked up the driveway approaching Mr. Paxton and called him by his name. As soon as he saw me and heard me call his name out, he turned around and RAN back inside the house through the same door in the garage,” Herrera wrote in the sworn affidavit.

Angela Paxton then exited the house, got inside a Chevrolet truck in the driveway, started it and opened the doors.

“A few minutes later I saw Mr. Paxton RAN from the door inside the garage towards the rear door behind the driver side,” Herrera wrote. “I approached the truck, and loudly called him by his name and stated that I had court documents for him. Mr. Paxton ignored me and kept heading for the truck.”

Herrera

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