Articles Posted in Covid-19

Barone Defense Firm Offers Free Estate Planning to Michigan’s First Responders

The United States just earned the unfortunate statistic of having the world’s most confirmed cases of Covid-19. While the virus does not discriminate, it does disproportionately impact certain members of our communities, including those who have dedicated their careers and perhaps literally, their lives, to helping all of us.

These first responders include all police officers, nurses, doctors and firefighters.  All of those on the front line of helping us fight the pandemic.  They’re all in the same boat.  Their jobs place them at the highest risk, and even with protective measures, many of them will contract the virus.  By all accounts, once the virus is contracted the impact varies considerably among individuals.  Some experience almost no or only very minor symptoms while in others the virus quickly migrates to and immediately begins ravaging the lungs. The result for some is death.

It’s during times like these that all of us look for ways to protect ourselves and our families.  Not only from the potential illness caused by the virus, but we also want to protect the financial well-being of our loved ones.  For many of us this means making sure we have all necessary estate planning documents in order.

Can the Police Confiscate My Guns During the State of Emergency?

By Executive Order 2020-04 Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency across the State of Michigan.  In doing so, the Governor activated the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act.  Passed in 1945, the Act provides that during times of great public crisis or public emergency of immediate danger the government’s power vastly increases.  Specific powers given to the executive branch of government, including to the police in general, may, among other things, include the regulation of the sale of alcohol and explosives.

However, subsection 2 of section 5 of the Act provides that the powers given to the Governor do not otherwise include or authorize the seizure, taking, or confiscation of lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition.

Michigan citizen’s Second Amendment rights are also protected at the Federal level during times of public emergency by an even more inclusive prohibition against firearm seizure. This Federal prohibition is found at 42 U.S.C 5207.  Known as the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, this Federal law prohibits the confiscation of firearms by any officer or employee of the United States. The Act also prohibits any law that infringes on the otherwise lawful concealed or open carry.

Michigan Now Prosecuting Violations of Whitmer’s Stay at Home Order

As part of a Continuing effort to battle the Covid-19 virus, Michigan first term Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently joined other states around the country in ordering all citizens of the state to stay at home. Her authority to do so arises out of the Emergency Powers of Governor Act passed in 1945.

This Act gives the Governor certain powers, as follows:

During times of great public crisis, disaster, rioting, catastrophe, or similar public emergency within the state, or reasonable apprehension of immediate danger of a public emergency of that kind, when public safety is imperiled.

Does Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order Suspend the Constitution in Michigan?

Effective March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and continuing through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21 requires that all individuals currently living within the State of Michigan to stay at home or at their place of residence. By its terms the order is to be broadly construed, and also indicates that, subject to the same exceptions, all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited.

There are many exceptions to this order, and these include leaving the home to perform certain kinds of work deemed necessary to sustain or protect life.  These workers are defined as “critical infrastructure workers. Employers are required to designate, in writing, their critical infrastructure workers. “Willful” violations of the stay at home order is considered a misdemeanor pursuant to Michigan Compiled Laws section 10.33 and Michigan Complied Laws section 30.405(3).

As is the nature of these executive orders, much detail is left out of the text, and by necessity, this brevity leaves broad discretion to the police in determining how to both interpret as well as how to enforce this order.  For example, do the police now have the unfettered authority and ability to stop any motor vehicle to determine whether the occupant has left their home for one of the allowable exceptions?  A reasonable argument can be made that it does confer such authority.

Barone Defense Firm COVID-19 Announcement

First and foremost, throughout this difficult time, the Barone Defense Firm is hopeful that all our clients, present, past and future, are safe and healthy and remain able to take care of themselves and their loved ones. The world, our Country and each of our communicates have changed so much in the past few weeks.  Nevertheless, our main priorities remain the same:

  1. Protect the health and safety of our community, and;
  2. Minimize disruptions in our handling of your case.

As we all know, the impact of the Covid-19 Virus has been widespread on a global, state, and local scale, and recently, Michigan joined a growing number of States that have issued stay at home orders. In this midst of all of this uncertainty, we want to assure you that we at the Barone Defense Firm are continuing to work hard protecting your legal rights while simultaneously implementing policies to protect your health.  As circumstances seem to rapidly change, our offices will persist in responding, which will include our monitoring the applicable orders, rules and policies of our local district and circuit courts for changes that may directly impact our clients.

For example, in accordance with the recommendations of the CDC and the Administrative Orders of the Michigan Supreme Court (MSC), we are taking every precaution to protect the health of our clients, our firm, and all the employees of the judicial system, and this includes limiting in-person communications and court appearances. Per the MSC Administrative Order;

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