© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Michigan Supreme Court declines to weigh in on federal gun case

The Michigan Supreme Court building at night
Wikimedia Commons
Several new organizations and the Michigan Press Association sued the commission to obtain memos and a recording of a meeting.

The Michigan Supreme Court is rejecting a request from a federal judge for help in deciding a complicated case involving 14 guns seized by Saginaw County Sheriff's deputies from a hunting cabin.

The guns were taken by the deputies in 2017 during a domestic violence call that resulted in a conviction. A man was convicted of domestic violence, but relatives who shared the same hunting cabin say the seized guns are theirs, and they want them back.

They say the sheriff’s department, by refusing to hand over the guns, violated their rights under the 4th and 5th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Ludington sent a formal request to the Michigan Supreme Court last November asking for answers to questions regarding the state’s forfeiture law. The questions focus on timelines for providing notice to parties that may have some ownership interest in seized property.

The request for what’s called a “certified question” is rare. And the justices are typically reluctant to take a case that hasn’t gone through the normal process to land before the state’s highest court.

The response to Ludington’s request was no exception:

“On order of the Court, the questions certified by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan are considered, and the Court respectfully declines the request to answer the certified questions.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!