In The News

In The News

Sunday, October 4, 2015

East Lansing Police Still Looking for Suspects from Celebrations after MSU-Oregon Game

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Michael J. Nichols

The East Lansing Police Department is still looking for peple to charge after the September 12-13th, weekend over post-game celebrations that followed Michigan State University's win over Oregon in college football. East Lansing Police Detectives are pursuing suspects who violated the so-called 300 feet within a fire ordinance. "The fact that Detectives are still seeking suspects to enforce a misdemeanor says a lot about the degree to which East Lansing police and political leaders are trying to crackdown on this activity in light of the damage to the city's reputation," says prominent East Lansing criminal defene attorney MIke Nichols.

The ordinance criminalizes the act of literally being present within 300 feet of an open fire in the city. It is intended to punish and crackdown on so-called "cedarfest" parties that feature burning couches in the Cedar Village area just west of campus. Nichols says "even though the ordinance violation is simply a 93 day misdemeanor, the courts are almost uniformly imposing bond conditions that prohibit you from consuming alcohol even if you are over 21 and subjecting you to testing to verify abstinence from alcohol. You can bet we will challenge the uniform application of such provisions," says NIchols. It is also one of the few convictions that lead to jail time even for first time offenders.

The ELPD issued a press release that lauded the lack of any intentionally set fires for the last 2 weekends of September, 2015, calling them "dangerous" and indicating that such conduct will not be tolerated. (http://www.cityofeastlansing.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=226). However, the ordinance, which literaly is a strict liability crime, may 'burn out' if legislation is passed at the state capitol that will require a mens rea element for every crime. Mens Rea is the Latin term that means 'mental state.' A House Bill was recently in front of a committee that would require a criminal mental state for any law to be violated unless the legislature specifically puts a clause in the bill that no mens rea is required.

For the attorneys who stay on the cutting edge, in the know and who are committed to results, call the Nichols Law Firm at 517 432 9000 or e-mail Mike Nichols at mnichols@nicholslaw.net

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.