Like many jurisdictions, Oakland County operates probation-style diversionary programs that allow individuals who are convicted of low-level offenses to serve their sentence in the community, subject to drug screening and other conditions, rather than serve jail time. However, in its aptly named “zero tolerance program,” the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office had appointed itself judge, jury, and executioner by unilaterally sending participants directly to jail, without even a court hearing, if they were accused of violating the program’s rules and conditions. In March 2022 the ACLU of Michigan filed an appeal on behalf of Marvin Kennedy, who was sent to jail for a year without a court hearing, challenging this blatant denial of due process. Shortly after we filed our appeal, Oakland County’s attorneys notified us that as a result of our appeal they were overhauling the rules of their program so that all participants suspected of violating the program’s rules will now be entitled to a court hearing to determine whether they did commit a violation and, if so, whether the violation should result in a jail sentence. In May 2022 the appeal was dismissed as moot. (People v. Kennedy, ACLU Attorneys Syeda Davidson, Phil Mayor, and Dan Korobkin; Cooperating Attorney Will Nahikian.)
The Michigan Legislature is in session.