I have just finished my final two hearings of the year. 2021 is in the bag for the Law Offices of Michael L. Steinberg. Been a good year as we have had to mitigate the spikes and crests of Delta and now Omicron variants of COVID More and more in-person hearings, still plenty of Zooms. Also, hybrid, where I have been in a courthouse and on zoom at the same time. It has been interesting to see my fellow defenders in an empty conference or in a quiet section of the hall, doing a hearing on a phone app. I recently purchased a tablet, so I don’t have to schlepp my laptop or so I can be on more than one hearing at a time.
I have really adapted to the “new” normal. I have involved myself in what is called MIDC (Michigan Indigent Defense Commission) work. This assures that Counsel is provided from lockup to sentencing In application, I am doing countywide arraignments at a courthouse where we are remotely connecting with the jail and the local lockups. This has been on weekends and holidays and rotates. I do countywide arraignments, in rotation, during the week That is my zoom. These have been excellent as we are being able to make bond arguments I am also handling large misdemeanor dockets, some in person, some on zoom. In one court, we were able to eliminate a massive backlog from a judge that had suddenly left the bench. In another court, we are tackling a huge backlog inherited by a newly elected judge. I have involved myself in tweaking the MIDC and have been advocating at the regional level. I also was successful in changing how discovery (police reports and recorded evidence) is acquired in Royal Oak We know get it electronically almost immediately and with the departments turning to upload their recorded media to servers, we now get it within a day or so. The longstanding process that existed was cumbersome and burdensome. One issue I have been working on is the effective means of getting our client contact information at the appointment stage Good ideas have been generated, at the several meetings we have held, from myself and other shareholders in the process. The MIDC has mandates on when client contact must be established and we are working hard to get there.
I am still doing all levels of cases and will be trying a Murder case in March. I have a few felonies with trial dates looming before that.
I have had some great success on the felony cases this year. One was tried as a bench trial and was granted a directed verdict (a rare feat where the court determined that the prosecutor had not met the burden of getting the case to the trier of fact). In another felony case, I turned my client, through a thorough review of the evidence, into a stalking victim rather than a stalker. A felony where some significant injury was sustained, will end up as a low-level misdemeanor at the end of an 11 month period. One of my great successes was getting a non-sex offender offense for an autistic young man, who had some inappropriate touching with a relative years earlier. That was the culmination of a year and a half of advocacy and mitigation. We also were able to get him into a treatment program tailored to his needs Several charges of domestic violence, one involving a fight between a father and his teenage, were reduced to disturbing the peace or dismissed. Also a drunk driving acquittal at a bench trial.
In May, I got to celebrate 31 years of licensing, and on July 1st, I celebrated the 30th anniversary of opening my solo law practice. 2021 also marked my 30th year of membership in the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan In the Spring of 2022, I will have served on the Board of Directors for 20 years. I continue to be senior faculty for the Evidence Boot Camp. This is a specific skill set and we met the challenges of doing it on zoom. Fortunately, in October we returned in person Our conferences had been virtual in the spring and returned to in-person in the summer
2021 has been a good year for the Law Offices. Justice was continued to be served in these trying times.
For all my clients, thank you for entrusting me with your cases. Thanks for your willingness to work with me.
Happy New Year and here’s to a great 2022