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A circuit court erred in deeming a city noise ordinance as constitutional where the language of the ordinance was vague

Holding that the plaintiff-city's noise ordinance was unconstitutionally vague, the court reversed and remanded for dismissal of the citations against the defendants-bar owners and employee. Defendants were issued the citations on the ground that the music coming from their establishment was too loud. The district court dismissed the citations, holding that the ordinance was unconstitutionally vague because "reasonable minds could differ regarding what destroys the peace and tranquility of a neighborhood," and that there was "no objective way for police to make that determination." The circuit court reversed in part, finding the ordinance was not unconstitutionally vague because, when read in conjunction with other sections, it "provided notice to residents of maximum sound levels during the day and night," and how those levels would be measured. On appeal, the court agreed with defendants that the circuit court erred in finding the ordinance constitutional. It noted that "the existence of maximum decibel limits in § 9.63(11) does not aid a citizen in determining whether his or her conduct violates § 9.63(3), nor does it place any constraints on enforcing officers' discretion." The court compared the ordinance to similar ordinances that were struck down as vague, noting there is "no standard for determining what 'destroys' the peace and tranquility of a neighborhood, which compels 'men of common intelligence' to guess as to what conduct is proscribed by § 9.63(3)." Further, because the ordinance "fails to provide explicit standards for determining what 'destroys the peace and tranquility of the surrounding neighborhood,' law enforcement officers and finders of fact are necessarily vested with 'virtually complete discretion' to determine whether a violation of § 9.63(3) has occurred." The court also distinguished the case from cases involving challenges to disturbing the peace statutes, noting the ordinance "does not proscribe conduct that merely disturbs or disrupts the peace and tranquility, but rather that which destroys the peace and tranquility. Thus, a person of ordinary intelligence would still have to guess whether his or her conduct was" lawful. Finally, the court noted that there was "no narrowing construction of" the ordinance that would render it constitutional. "Although the district court attempted . . . to read into § 9.63(3) a requirement that a violation of § 9.63(11) have occurred, such a reading effects a substantial revision of the ordinance and essentially amounts to rendering § 9.63(3) nugatory or surplusage . . . ." 

Basic responsibilities of an executor

Originally posted on 01/11/2017 The emotional toils of dealing with the death of a loved one can be considerably difficult. Nevertheless, perseverance is paramount; especially if you are appointed to be an executor to one’s...

What you need to compliment your will

Originally posted on 02/08/2017 Making end-of-life plans usually end with a will, but they shouldn't. Some believe that simply having a will is enough. However, this post will briefly explain how having other estate planning...

The benefits of home health care providers

Originally posted on 03/22/2017 As we get older or suffer an injury, we need a little extra help. Home health care providers or caregivers can provide the assistance needed to handle your or your loved one's health and safety...

What to know about bail conditions

Originally posted on 03/06/2017 If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and...

College students and estate planning

Originally posted on 12/16/2016 With college semesters starting up in Michigan, it may not be so easy to get college students to think responsibly. This time can be especially tough with the need of moving back to school and getting...

Three reasons to put a power of attorney in place

Originally posted on 11/08/2016 While no one wants to think of the unfortunate possibility of being incapacitated or of a time when we can't handle our own affairs, this circumstance is a real possibility. If something happens and this...

How to approach parents about estate planning

Originally posted on 12/09/2016 Family forms a strong foundation for many people's first and most intimate community. It is important to strengthen these first relationships so even uncommon questions become natural. For those...

PROBATE 44: Petition for Mental Health Treatment

Michigan’s Mental Health Code governs the civil admission and discharge procedures for a person with a mental illness. Specifically, MCL 330.1434 sets forth the procedure and content requirements for a petition for mental health treatment.

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

Originally posted on 04/12/2017 If you have been convicted of a crime, have served your sentence, and have followed all court recommendations, you should be able to put your past behind you and move on with life. Moving forward is critical...

Choosing the right executor for an estate

Originally posted on 05/28/2017 When people are thinking about planning their estate, they often think about trying to minimize the estate tax, keeping their will updated, and keeping items out of probate court; however, there is another...

Understanding how the Miranda warning works

Originally posted on 11/25/2016 Michigan residents who have seen television police shows or movies involving law enforcement have no doubt watched many dramatic scenes with officers quoting something to the effect of, "You have the...

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