Media

Levine and Levine Attorney Sarissa Montague recently provided expert analysis on RT America regarding manslaughter charges filed against five Michigan officials involved with the Flint water crisis.

Click here to view the video.


Levine & Levine Attorney Anastase Markou provided WWMT with expert analysis of allegations being made of improper policing by one agency.

"Most police agencies understand and the officers understand exactly what the limits of their jurisdiction are so that if they have a case, the case is not going to be dismissed merely because the officer was acting outside of his or her jurisdiction," said Markou, during the interview with WWMT reporter Walter Smith-Randolph.  Click here to read and watch the full report.


The inaugural Michigan Edition of Leading Lawyers Magazine features Managing Partner Randall Levine.

The article, "Well Clad with the Constitution's Armor, He Assists Criminal Law Defendants," looks at Levine's career and his passion for rights like a fair trial and due process.  Click here to read the article.

"These kinds of things are very meaningful to me, and I take my job very seriously," Levine said. "I think it's important we have people who, despite the unpopularity of causes, are willing to offer a vigorous and zealous defense, regardless of the heinous nature of a particular accusation. It's a difficult thing to understand for a lot of people who aren't in the system and don't do what I do."


Randall Levine talks with Michigan Lawyers Weekly about social media in the legal industry. (Published in Michigan Lawyers Weekly by Thomas Franz on July 10, 2017.)

It's no secret that social media usage has been rising for many years.

As social networking has increased, so have legal ramifications stemming from sites like Facebook and Twitter.

According to Robert Half Legal, a legal staffing firm in Southfield, 52 percent of 200 attorneys from large law firms nationwide reported an increase in lawsuits linked to information found on social media and mobile devices over the past two years.

"I think the biggest thing with social media, because so many people use it, it's now a great way for attorneys to gather information on clients, other attorneys, witnesses and experts," Marissa Ellis, a regional vice president with Robert Half.

That surge has had a variety of effects in the legal industry, from hiring and fact finding to helping businesses implement online policies for their employees.

Fact finding

One area in which social media has been beneficial for attorneys is fact finding.

Randall S. Levine, a criminal defense attorney and managing partner at Levine & Levine in Kalamazoo, said social media has allowed him to add another layer of background research for court matters.

"We saw that witnesses in criminal cases often talk about the episode in some way that brings the case into the courtroom. We started to mine this data to see whether or not we could use this data to our advantage in one way or another," Levine said.

Mark A. Dotson, a professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, said specificity is key with social media requests.

"Social media is like any other discovery tool or opportunity. We ask for documents routinely. Now we just have to adjust and realize this same type of evidence can be found elsewhere and often is. You have to request emails and texts, and you have to be specific in the information you're looking for and you also have to be specific in describing where they may be kept," Dotson said.

Business impact

Although Levine said social media may help in his practice, it can be a double-edged sword in running a firm.

"For those of us like myself who have law firms where we have employees who are actively involved in social media, there are obviously risks involved that they're going to be involved in some way in litigation. There's a requirement that policies be put into place so that employees are careful about what they say," Levine said.

No matter how careful people may be, Levine and Dotson said forensic experts rarely have difficulty finding information from social networking sites when necessary.

"I always tell people you should not put anything out there that you wouldn't want your own mother to hear because there's a likelihood that it could come back to haunt you," Levine said. "A lot of people think that they are somehow ridding themselves of any information that they might not want to be detected, but these forensic experts are very good at being able to locate that material," Dotson added. "Once a good forensics expert gets their hands on a computer or phone, it's going to be difficult to hide anything that was on one of those devices."

Law students and job applicants also need to keep an eye on their social profiles, Dotson said.

"I get calls all the time from boards asking me about students and the questions often turn into matters that I consider personal to the student," Dotson said. "I'll ask where they're getting this information from based off their bar application, and it's from social network activities. You also have employers who are routinely checking potential candidates on social network activities."

Using it to your advantage

In order to get the most out of social media in the courtroom, Levine suggested utilizing an expert to confirm that the posts that attorneys intend on presenting are actually what they appear to be.

"You have to be careful that when you're gathering this information and you're using it in litigation, that it is what it reports to be," Levine said. "I always use an expert to do an analysis of this material to see that it was written by whoever it is reported to be written by, that the date is accurate, that it hasn't been altered or changed. You have to be very careful that you have the appropriate foundation for the authenticity of the evidence."

Dotson said that as people continue to express themselves more boldly online, it will be key for attorneys to keep up with changing social media platforms.

"The one thing you don't want to do is not adjust to the changing times and not seek out information that might be found on social media networks, phones or computers," Dotson said.


Randall Levine Attorney Randall Levine provides defense for Janel Boer during preliminary hearing for high-profile Kalamazoo County case.

Read the full article of June 9; Mlive: here.

Read the full article of June 9; WWMT: here.

Read the full article of May 31; WWMT:here.

On Thursday, June 8, 2017, Attorney Randall Levine spoke to WWMT about how the search for evidence is should be handled while investigators search for missing Portage, Michigan, woman Theresa Lockhart.

Read the Press Release here.


KALAMAZOO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE LIPSEY APPOINTS LEVINE & LEVINE ATTORNEY ANASTASE MARKOU TO SERVE ON DALTON INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL

Anastase MarkouKALAMAZOO, MICH. - MAY 19, 2017 - Kalamazoo County Circuit Court Judge Alexander Lipsey has appointed Anastase Markou of Kalamazoo-based Levine & Levine Attorneys at Law to serve as the court's appointed attorney for an appeal on the admissibility of evidence in Jason Dalton's defense.

On May 8, Dalton's attorney Eusebio Solis filed a motion to delay the murder trial until an interlocutory appeal process is finished with the Michigan Court of Appeals. The defense attorney also requested an appellate attorney be hired for the interlocutory appeal of Lipsey's April 20 ruling to allow portions of Dalton's statements to police to be used during the trial.

Lipsey approved for a court ordered appellate attorney to be appointed. He assigned Markou, who has nearly 20 years experience as an appeals court defense attorney.

"Levine & Levine is always responsive and respectful of requests made to our office by the courts regardless of the heinous nature of the event," said Randall Levine, the firm's managing partner. "Our work with Dalton's defense is very limited, but an important step in assuring the fundamental rights of all individuals accused of crimes. It takes strong advocacy from both sides of a case for juries to be able to make correct decisions."

The Court of Appeals must receive an application of appeal from Dalton's defense team and response from the Kalamazoo County Prosecutors office before deciding to hear the case.

"This appeal will examine whether interviews conducted by police with Dalton violated certain rights set forth by the Fifth and Sixth Amendment of the Constitution," said Markou. "All individuals are entitled to due process and a fair trial under the 14th Amendment and the Appeals Court's decision is needed for this particular case."

Dalton is being held in the Kalamazoo County for the shooting deaths of six individuals and injuring two others in February 2016.

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About Levine & Levine: Levine & Levine is renowned in the legal community throughout Michigan and beyond, for offering compassionate, professional and thoughtful representation in addition to experienced and aggressive advocacy. Since 1987, the firm has provided highly effective representation to individuals and businesses. Levine & Levine specializes in criminal defense, family law, business law, appeals, and estate planning.


Randall LevineKalamazoo’s Newschannel 3’s Alex Jokich interviewed Randall Levine on a medical malpractice story out of Allegan County, where health officials say a doctor has been performing liposuction out of a pole barn.

Read the Press Release here.

View the video here.


Randall LevineKalamazoo’s Newschannel 3’s Nicky Zizaza interviewed Randall Levine on how digital evidence is being used in court.

Read the Press Release here.

View the video here.


Cathy Zackery Earns CLP Designation and is re-elected President of NALS of Greater Kalamazoo

 CATHY ZACKERYKALAMAZOO, MICH. - April 27, 2017 - Cathy Zackery, legal assistant at Levine & Levine, recently earned her Certified Legal Professional (CLP) designation, and was re-elected president of NALS of Greater Kalamazoo, the association for legal professionals.

CLP designation recognizes lawyer assistants for their dedication to professionalism, and exceptional work. Certification is received after passing a four-part examination which assesses lawyer assistants' mastery of office skills; ability to interact on a professional level with attorneys, clients and other support staff; discipline to assume responsibility and exercise initiative and judgment; and working knowledge of procedural law, the law library and how to prepare legal documents.

"This certification gives me much more meaning, weight and credibility in my career," said Zackery. "With CLP designation, I've gained an extra boost of confidence in my day-to-day work at Levine & Levine."

Zackery began serving as president of NALS of Greater Kalamazoo, a non-profit organization that aims to educate, inspire, enhance and promote those in the legal professions regardless of their role or title, in April 2016. Her role as president will be reinstated on April 25, 2017. Previously, she has served on the Genius Bar for NALS Leadership, and is now on the NALS Manuals Task Force.

Zackery has been with Levine & Levine since May 2013.

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About Levine & Levine: Levine & Levine is renowned in the legal community throughout Michigan and beyond, for offering compassionate, professional and thoughtful representation in addition to experienced and aggressive advocacy. Since 1987, the firm has provided highly effective representation to individuals and businesses. Levine & Levine specializes in criminal defense, family law, business law, appeals, and estate planning.


RANDALL LEVINE SERVES AS PRESIDING JUDGE AT THE MICHIGAN CENTER FOR CIVIC EDUCATION KENT COUNTY REGIONAL MOCK TRIAL

mockKALAMAZOO, MICH. – Feb. 28, 2017 – Michigan high school students were able to practice their citizenship skills and experience a realistic, interactive court trial with Randall Levine as the presiding judge at the Michigan Center for Civic Education (MCCE) Kent County Regional Mock Trial this weekend in Grand Rapids.

The Feb. 25 event was first of four regional competitions across the state for the 2017 Michigan High School Mock Trial Tournament. At each competition, teams of six to 10 students present arguments before panels of judges. The top 10 teams will compete in the State Finals on March 25 in Lansing, and then the state champions will contend in the National Mock Trial Championship in Connecticut, slated for May 11–13, 2017.

Mock trials are designed to reenact scenarios that may take place in a trial court. Students take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses, and compete against each other in real courtrooms in front of real judges and lawyers. In this tournament, one judge presides over the trial, while the rest sit as the jury.

"Mock trials are a great learning project for high school students, many of who ultimately become lawyers," said Levine. "It was an honor to be a part of this tournament for a second year, and watch as students practice critical thinking and gain knowledge about the law and legal system."

Levine is a managing partner of Levine & Levine, a Kalamazoo law firm. Levine has extensive experience in the defense of serious Federal and State criminal matters including white collar crime, embezzlement, money laundering, fraud, homicide, criminal sexual conduct and weapons offenses. He has been recognized by the American Trial Lawyers Association as one of "Michigan’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers," by Best Lawyers in America, Leaders in the Law and as a Michigan "Super Lawyer."

The MCCE is a non-partisan 501(C) 3 corporation, and was established in 1982. The organization is dedicated to providing youth with the knowledge and skills needed to become engaged citizens.


Sariss K MontagueLevine & Levine attorney Sarissa Montague was recently interviewed by WWMT regarding sex crime laws after a recent incident at South Haven High School


Randall Levine Attorney Randall Levine has been appointed to the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo Building for Generations Campaign Cabinet. Levine will support the three-phase plan to improve the Maple Branch YMCA buildings, amenities and programs.

Read the Press Release here.


Levine & Levine attorney Anastase Markou spoke with WWMT TV following the sentencing of a Bangor, Michigan, man who has been in prison for 17 years and on trial twice for the same case.

View the video here.


Levine & Levine Attorney Sarissa Montague sat down with WOOD TV reporter Joe LaFurgey to discuss potential legal fall out after a video surfaced of Bangor Public School employees talking in a restaurant about other employees and students.

View the video here.

View the video here.


‘Leaders’ Class of 2017 Named Sharan L Levine

Read the Press Release here.


Sariss K MontagueLevine & Levine Attorney Sarissa Montague recently spoke with WWMT TV3 in Kalamazoo regarding individuals expectations of privacy and intellectual property laws when having photos printed at retail outlets.


Sharan Levine spoke to MiBiz regarding the state's Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program

Read the Press Release here.


Randall Levine speaks about changes to Michigan’s edible marijuana law. He said it is a change that offers relief to medical marijuana users

View the video here.


Randall LevineWWMT on PJ Fleck's Contract

View the video here.


Sariss K MontagueKALAMAZOO-BASED LEVINE & LEVINE ATTORNEY HONORED AS 2016 UP AND COMING LAWYER

Read the Press Release here.


Group photoKALAMAZOO-BASED LAW FIRM, LEVINE & LEVINE NAMED ONE OF U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT’S "BEST LAW FIRM" FOR 2017

Read the Press Release here.


Bill to get Stein to cover all recount costs could be unconstitutional

View the video here.


Randall Levine and Sharan LevineCOOLEY GRADUATES ADVOCATE FOR A VETERANS TREATMENT COURT

Read the full article at www.cooley.edu here, featuring Levine & Levine's Randall Levine and Sharan Levine


Group photoKALAMAZOO COUNTY LEADERS DISCUSS NEED FOR VETERANS TREATMENT COURT

Read the Press Release here.


Sarissa MontagueWORK BY KALAMAZOO ATTORNEYS COULD SEE HUNDREDS OF REHABILITATED INMATES PAROLED

Read the full article at wwmt.com here, featuring Levine & Levine's Sarissa Montague


TAKING DRUGS WHILE PREGNANT: IS IT A CRIME? stase

Read the full article at wwmt.com here, where Levine & Levine's Anastase Markou was interviewed.


OWNER OF HUSKY AT CENTER OF SOCIAL MEDIA CONTROVERSY SPEAKS OUT

Read the full article at wwmt.com here.


MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS CHANGES POLICY REGARDING HABITUAL OFFENDER PAROLE BOARD JURISDICTIONS FOLLOWING RECENT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Aug. 5, 2016 - Following the October 2015, ruling of Hayes v. Parole Board in the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) has issued a new policy stating the Michigan Parole Board must consider parole for a habitual offender who earned disciplinary credits without first receiving permission from his sentencing judge. The MDOC directive 03.01.102 was issued on Aug. 1, 2016, and supersedes 03.01.102 (08/08/1988). The case, which was argued by attorney Sarissa Montague of Levine & Levine, centered on Nathan Hayes, 39, of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Read more here.

Click here to view the directive.


WKZO AND TASE MARKOU: POLICE CAN USE EVIDENCE FOUND AFTER ILLEGAL STOPS

WKZOMorning-06-27-16 (7amHour-TaseMarkou)


BLACKSTON PLEADS GUILTY TO SECOND DEGREE MURDER

KALAMAZOO, MI - Levine describes this case as a "win-win" for both the defense and prosecution. Randall Levine said, "He has finally had an opportunity to express remorse to the miller family by telling the community exactly what has happened. This gives the miller family closure."

Read the full Mlive article.
Watch full coverage from WWMT.


KEVIN DOERFLER LOOKS TO THE FUTUR E

KALAMAZOO, MI - Levine & Levine managing partner Randall Levine spoke with WWMT's Cheri Hardmon following Kevin Doerfler's not guilty verdict in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.


Levine & Levine

The Levine & Levine defense team following the Kevin Doerfler trial in Kalmazoo Circuit Court. Pictured (left - right) Anastase Markou, associate; Sarissa K. Montague, associate; and Randall Levine, managing partner.

KALAMAZOO, MI - Randall Levine was the lead attorney in the case of Kevin Doerfler, assistant principal of Portage West middle school. Doerfler was found not guilty of all charges in Kalamazoo circuit court on March 29, 2016.

Check out images, video and other coverage from the trial below:

MLive article

MLive interview with Levine

WWMT video coverage


ACCUSED KALAMAZOO SHOOTER, JASON DALTON, SUES UBER FOR $10M

KALAMAZOO, MI - It would suggest from his writings that he does have some issues with his mental health..." Levine said.

Read the full story here.


VIDEOS OF GRAND HAVEN BEACH GOERS POSTED ON PORNOGRAPHIC WEBSITES

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- Beach-goers beware: why it is important to conduct yourself with the expectation that you could be recorded.

Watch the full story here.


MYSTERY OF AN ACCUSED CHILD-ABUSER'S VANISHING RECORDS

DETROIT, MI -- Sorting out the mystery of of an accused child-abuser's vanishing records.

Read the full story here.


MICHIGAN COURT OF APPEALS RULES IN FAVOR OF INMATE;
CASE COULD AFFECT MANY OTHER PRISONERS

Michigan Parole Board must consider Kalamazoo man for parole Sarissa Montague

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Oct. 22, 2015 - In a case that could affect as many as 200 inmates in the state, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday, Oct. 21, that the Michigan Parole Board must consider parole for a habitual offender who earned disciplinary credits without first receiving permission from his sentencing judge. The case, which was argued by attorney Sarissa Montague of Levine & Levine, centered on Nathan Hayes, 39, of Kalamazoo.

Hayes was sentenced in 1996 to 20 to 30 years in prison on armed robbery and conspiracy charges. Because he was sentenced before Michigan's "truth in sentencing" law was implemented, Hayes was eligible to earn disciplinary credits. The credits are not available to individuals sentenced after "truth in sentencing" was enacted.

The minimum release date for Hayes is July 5, 2017, but with disciplinary credits, his potential release date was Oct. 2, 2013. However, the state Parole Board refused to hear Hayes' case, arguing it had no obligation to consider parole until a Kalamazoo Circuit Court judge gave written approval.

The Parole Board's practice was to get permission from a habitual offender's sentencing judge before considering parole. Hayes asked his sentencing judge's successor to grant jurisdiction to the Parole Board to consider him for parole, but Judge Gary Giguere Jr. concluded he couldn't because the Parole Board already had jurisdiction.

"This practice left many inmates in limbo, not able to make use of their earned disciplinary credits," explained attorney Sarissa Montague of Levine & Levine. "Until today, the Michigan Parole Board only considered disciplinary credits if the sentencing judge approved them, but the Michigan Department of Corrections instructs inmates not to contact their sentencing judge about parole prior to their release date."

Hayes agreed with Judge Giguere and filed a writ of mandamus, asking that the Court of Claims order the Parole Board to consider him for parole without first receiving permission from Judge Giguere. The Court of Claims refused and Montague appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals, which agreed with Hayes and ordered the Court of Claims to issue the "extraordinary remedy" of a writ of mandamus, ordering the Parole Board to consider Hayes for parole.

"The ruling has broader implications; a significant number of prisoners are now going to be able to come before the Parole Board for parole consideration," Montague said.
The decision will allow an estimated 100 to 200 habitual offenders in Michigan to be considered for parole, but not necessarily granted early release.

Learn more here


KALAMAZOO-BASED LAW FIRM, LEVINE & LEVINE HIRES ATTORNEY RACHEL GRUETZNER

Rachel Gruetzner

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Oct. 19, 2015 - Levine & Levine, a Kalamazoo- based law firm specializing in criminal defense, family law, business law, appeals and estate planning, has hired Rachel Gruetzner, an attorney focused on family law matters, including divorce, child custody and support, spousal support, paternity, adoption and family law appeals. Her practice will also include general civil and criminal litigation and criminal appeals.


Gruetzner earned a juris doctor degree summa cum laude from Michigan State University College of Law in 2014 and a bachelor's degree cum laude with a double major in theatre and communications from Western Michigan University in 2009. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan as well as the family law, appellate practice, criminal law, and young lawyers sections of the state bar. Gruetzner also served as a research attorney with the Michigan Court of Appeals and a clerk at Speaker Law Firm in Lansing.

"Rachel is a talented and effective attorney whose areas of practice with family law, divorce, custody and adoption make her a perfect fit with our firm," said Sharan Levine, partner at Levine & Levine.

As the daughter of one deaf and one hearing parent, Gruetzner learned at a young age how to navigate complex family dynamics and can communicate in sign language. Prior to coming to Levine & Levine, she served as a research attorney at the State of Michigan Court of Appeals, a law clerk at Speaker Law Firm, PLLC, and a legal intern at the National Labor Relations Board and State of Michigan Supreme Court.

"I am passionate about people, justice, and lending a sympathetic ear and hardworking mind to craft creative solutions to complex problems," Gruetzner said. "These passions guide me in achieving favorable outcomes for clients facing the difficult life changes that accompany a change in a family structure."

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About Levine & Levine: Levine & Levine is renowned in the legal community throughout Michigan and beyond, for offering compassionate, professional and thoughtful representation in addition to experienced and aggressive advocacy. Since 1987, the firm has provided highly effective representation to individuals and businesses. Levine & Levine specializes in criminal defense, family law, business law, appeals, and estate planning


KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Sept 03, 2015 - The law offices of Levine & Levine have announced their new location on the 14th floor of the Fifth Third Bank building at 136 E. Michigan Ave. Read more here!