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Dear City Attorney Mish

My letter to Attorney Mish, which reviews the City's recent motion and the reasons DCGR believes that Judge Sullivan should dismiss the motion.
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photo taken December 6

photo taken December 6 /Renato Delos Reyes

Dear City Attorney Mish:

You have received a copy of Decriminalize GR (DCGR)’s objections to the City’s Motion for Summary Disposition in its favor in the case of Kent County Prosecuting Attorney vs. City of Grand Rapids. Judge Sullivan will make his decision granting or denying the City’s motion after the hearing scheduled for April 24, 2013. DCGR believes that Judge Sullivan will deny the City’s motion for the reasons stated in our objections.

The purpose of this letter is to request that the City withdraw subparagraphs (1) through (4) of its motion prior to forcing this issue to a hearing on the 24th. The reason for this request is that the claims made in the motion of the City were not properly stated in a pleading filed with the Court and served on DCGR as required by the court rules. DCGR is prejudiced in responding to the motion because DCGR was never reasonably informed of the nature of the claims of the City against which DCGR is being called on to defend.

If the City is determined to sue DCGR in order to bind DCGR to a judgment, there is nothing DCGR can do to prevent it. DCGR is entitled at a minimum to have the City’s claims stated clearly in a pleading, an opportunity to file an answer, and a scheduling conference with the Court to determine whether the Court has subject matter jurisdiction, whether discovery is necessary, and whether alternative dispute resolution is appropriate.

The manner in which the City presented its claims to the Court has the appearance of seeking to bind DCGR to a legal ruling against it, without giving DCGR the opportunities to defend which are its rights under the court rules. DCGR believes the Court will deny the City’s motion for this reason, among others, but DCGR also believes that civility from the City to its citizens requires the City to voluntarily withdraw its motion, properly file its claims in a pleading, and give DCGR a fair chance to defend.

DCGR’s entitlement to civility is heightened by the suddenness and complete absence of any warning of the City’s change in direction from asking the Court to dismiss the Prosecutor’s case and approve the validity of the charter amendment to asking the Court to rule that GRPD officers are duty bound to report Grand Rapids citizens to the Prosecutor for state law criminal marijuana violations despite the plain language of the Charter Amendment. Indeed, the City’s new position on this point is identical to that of the Prosecutor, although the City reaches this conclusion by a different route.

DCGR was also shocked by the City totally reversing itself on the clear standing and ripeness objections to the Prosecutor’s claim, especially after Judge Sullivan signaled in his opinion of January 23, 2012 that he also had serious reservations about the Prosecutor’s standing to bring the lawsuit. It is not normal for a defendant who wants to win a case to throw away its trump cards.

Nor can DCGR fathom what would motivate the City to ask the judge to issue a binding ruling that GRPD officers are independent of citizen control. I can see how such a ruling is very much in the interest of the GRPD, but to my mind, there is a clear difference between what is in the best interest of the City and what is most to the advantage of the GRPD.

As I say, DCGR cannot prevent the City from making these claims, but DCGR is entitled to a fair opportunity to defend. Then the judge will decide. The suddenness and secretiveness of the City’s change of direction has deprived DCGR of a fair opportunity to defend. DCGR requests that the City withdraw its motion and re-file its claims in the proper manner.

Please let me know as soon as you can whether the City will withdraw motions (1) to (4).


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