Family of woman killed in recalled Jeep Liberty to file lawsuit

8418392_GThe family of a pregnant woman killed in a recalled Chrysler Jeep says the company’s fine and buyback are too little, too late.

Kayla White was killed when her gas tank exploded on her recalled Jeep Liberty when it was rear-ended on the Lodge freeway last November.

When there are dangerous vehicles, you have to get them off the road,” said Gerald Thurswell, the White family’s attorney. “But for these vehicles catching on fire she would still be here today.”

Thurswell says plans are still in the works to take legal action against Chrysler for the accident not only claimed the life of the Ferndale woman, but her unborn child.

And although the attorney says nothing can be done to replace these lives, he says Monday’s announcement that Fiat Chrysler must buy back more than half a million vehicles prone to the loss of control, shows the auto maker is being held responsible for its product.

“The source of comfort is that it will hopefully help prevent the deaths of others if people take advantage of the buyback,” Thurswell said.

The consent order also requires the automaker to pay civil penalties of $105 million, submit to to an independent monitor for three years and also offer financial incentives to owners of about one million Jeep Grand Cherokees recalled in 2013.

Kayla was driving a 2003 Jeep Liberty when her fatal accident occurred.

“The death of Kayla White was senseless and needless,” Thurswell said. “Chrysler knew these vehicles were dangerous,”

The family’s attorney says that’s why legal action must be taken the lawsuit will be filed before November.

If you or someone you know has a car that has been recalled or injured in an accident, please contact The Dailey Law Firm.  The experienced attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm believe in what is right and will be eager to help you find a solution.  Email us at askbrian@thelawshow.com or askjustin@thelawshow.com.  To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

Adam Shigwadja to face bench trial in attack on ex-girlfriend

-68403e362aafb840KALAMAZOO, MI — Adam Shigwadja and his attorney plan to let a Kalamazoo judge decide at a bench trial whether he is guilty or not guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend last year and setting her bedroom on fire.

Shigwadja, 19, is charged as a second-time habitual offender with assault with intent to commit murder, first-degree home invasion and second-degree arson in connection with a Sept. 15 fire at the Prospect Street home 17-year-old Sophia Putney-Wilcox shared with her mother and brother.

Shigwadja is accused of breaking into the house, cutting Putney-Wilcox with a knife and then using gasoline to set her bedroom on fire.

According to Kalamazoo County Circuit Court documents, a bench trial for Shigwadja is scheduled to begin Tuesday before Judge Pamela L. Lightvoet, although he and his attorney have until Tuesday morning to decide if Shigwadja will waive a jury trial and proceed with a bench trial.

Shigwadja was ordered to stand trial in November following a probable-cause hearing in district court. A little more than a month later, in January, Lightvoet ordered that Shigwadja undergo evaluations at the Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Lansing to determine if he was competent to stand trial, and whether he was criminally responsible or legally insane at the time that he is alleged to have assaulted Putney-Wilcox.

In February, according to court documents, a doctor at the forensic center found that Shigwadja was competent to stand trial and not legally insane at the time of the alleged offense.

However, Shigwadja’s attorney, Alan Koenig, filed a notice on April 29 of his intent to present an insanity defense at Shigwadja’s trial. And in June, he filed a motion seeking funds for an independent examination by another doctor to get a second opinion on whether Shigwadja was legally insane.

The doctor, Stephen Miller, is included on a list of proposed witnesses that Koenig plans to call at Shigwadja’s trial. In court documents in June, Koenig said he “may call Miller on the issue of insanity and/or as a general expert in the field of psychology.”

Koenig said Tuesday that while it is something he had considered, he now does not plan on presenting an insanity defense at Shigwadja’s trial.

At the probable-cause hearing in November, Putney-Wilcox testified that she and Shigwadja met when she was a freshman in high school and then dated on and off for the next three years. Their relationship was tumultuous, she said then, and Shigwadja made threats in the past to kill her.

Putney-Wilcox testified that despite the threats and a judge’s order in 2013 that Shigwadja have no contact with her, she and Shigwadja saw each other anyway, including on Sept. 11 and Sept. 13, just a few days before the Sept. 15 incident at her home in Kalamazoo.

She testified that in the Sept. 15 incident, Shigwadja took her by surprise in her bedroom after she arrived home after being out with a friend. She testified Shigwadja was armed with a knife, her room smelled like gasoline and that when she asked Shigwadja if he was going to kill her, he responded, “Yeah.”

Shigwadja later set fire to the room and eventually fled after Putney-Wilcox’s brother came into the room and struck him with a baseball bat. During the confrontation, Putney-Wilcox’s brother accidentally struck her in the head with the bat.

Putney-Wilcox was hospitalized and underwent surgery for the injury to her head after the incident. At the court hearing in November, she testified that the blow from the baseball bat knocked her unconscious and she does not remember much from the night after getting struck.

Prosecutors, according to court documents, plan to present evidence at Shigwadja’s trial of previous acts of domestic violence, including a February 2013 incident during which they say Shigwadja forced his way into Putney-Wilcox’s bedroom, threatened to kill her and held a knife to her throat and stomach.

Lightvoet, meanwhile, is scheduled to hear testimony in Shigwadja’s trial on Tuesday and Wednesday. The trial is then scheduled to continue on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, according to court documents.

Rex Hall Jr. is a public safety reporter for the Kalamazoo Gazette.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an assault, please contact The Dailey Law Firm.  The experienced attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm believe in what is right and will be eager to help you find a solution.  To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469

Fiat Chrysler forced into biggest vehicle buyback ever

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday it imposed the largest vehicle buyback program in its history on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles because the automaker failed to come up with an adequate remedy to fix nearly 200,000 pickup trucks and SUVs it recalled in 2013.

The buyback program is one component of a 37-page consent order that also includes the largest ever civil penalty imposed by the agency.

The $105 million in civil penalties and the buyback program are the outcome of NHTSA’s investigation into FCA’s lax repair and recall completion rates for 23 separate recalls covering more than 11 million vehicles. It applies mostly to Ram trucks and Dodge SUVs made between 2008 and 2012 that were part of three separate recalls announced in 2013.

There was confusion Monday over the number of buybacks the automaker would be forced to offer. FCA issued recalled notices for nearly 580,000 Ram pickups and Ram SUVs in 2013. NHTSA initially said the automaker must offer to buy back more than 500,000 vehicles.

“This order requires FCA to offer buybacks for more than half a million vehicles prone to dangerous loss of control,” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said. “FCA has failed to offer an effective remedy of those vehicles,” Rosekind said.

Later, Rosekind said the automaker must only offer buybacks to vehicles that have not yet been fixed and the automaker said it has fixed more than 280,000 of them.

Glenn Bradley, of Weatherford, Texas, said he called his dealer Monday to ask about his 2012 Ram 2500 and the dealer had no idea what he was talking about.

FCA has not said how much the buyback program could cost the automaker. However, the automaker said Monday that the scope of the buyback program is less than the number suggested by NHTSA.

“As of this date, repairs have been completed on well over 60% of the subject vehicles, leaving less than two hundred thousand eligible vehicles,” the automaker said in a statement.

Nevertheless, the automaker said it will offer to repurchase the trucks and SUVs that have not yet been fixed for a price equal to the original purchase price minus a reasonable allowance for depreciation plus ten percent.

FCA also emphasized that it is allowed to resell the vehicles it repurchases after they are repaired.

The consent order also requires the automaker to pay civil penalties of $105 million, submit to to an independent monitor for three years and also offer financial incentives to owners of about 1 million Jeep Grand Cherokees recalled in 2013.

The agreement calls for FCA to submit a list of three names within 60 days. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets to choose from among the three.

Once in place, the monitor will see if Fiat Chrysler lives up to its responsibilities under the consent order to improve safety in its vehicles. If the monitor determines Fiat Chrysler isn’t complying, NHTSA will be notified and sanctions or penalties are sure to follow. The monitor is also supposed to prepare a report 60 days before the order ends.

“From our vantage point, punishment is one aspect of what we do, but rehabilitation is what we hope lives on,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “One of the best ways…to ensure that they get it right is to have some type of ongoing dialogue or oversight.”

Fiat Chrysler acknowledged Sunday that some of its recall processes and procedures have fallen short.

“We also accept the resulting consequences with renewed resolve to improve our handling of recalls and re-establish the trust our customers place in us,” the company said in a statement. “We are intent on rebuilding our relationship with NHTSA and we embrace the role of public safety advocate.”

NHTSA said the investigation revealed that FCA, in a variety of recalls, failed adequately to inform NHTSA about vehicle safety issues, failed to develop an adequate way to fix the vehicles or produce the parts necessary to repair them and failed to adequately inform dealers about safety recalls.

“Fiat Chrysler must find a better way to reach customers and to get the vehicles repaired,” Foxx said. “Merely identifying safety issues is not enough.”

The buyback program hits the automaker’s top selling vehicle — Ram pickups — at a time when competition in the pickup segment is tougher than ever. The pickups have defective steering parts that can cause drivers to lose control.

Rosekind said the agency decided against requiring a buyback program for the Jeep Grand Cherokees that are part of a recall for 1.54 million Jeep SUVs because, in that case, there is an available remedy.

Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 1993 to 1998 and Jeep Libertys from 2002 to 2007 have rear-mounted fuel tanks that NHTSA says are more prone too fiery rear-end collisions than SUVs made by other automakers. NHTSA has approved the installation of a trailer hitch to provide additional protection in rear end crashes for those vehicles.

“There is a very clear line where the buybacks were focused on the vehicles where there was no option,” Rosekind said. “There was not an available remedy.”

The buy back program applies to the following vehicles if they have not yet been repaired:

278,229 vehicles recalled on February 6, 2013 because of a defect that may cause the axle to lock including the:

  • 2009 model year Chrysler Aspen
  • 2009 model year Dodge Durango
  • 2009-2012 model years Dodge Ram 1500
  • 2009-2011 model years Dodge Dakota

36,710 vehicles recalled on November 6, 2013 because of a defect that may cause the driver to lose steering power and crash:

  • 2008-2012 model years Dodge Ram 4500
  • 2008-2012 model years Dodge Ram 5500

265,057 vehicles recalled on November 6, 2013, to repair and replace steering linkages that may cause the driver to lose steering power and crash:

  • 2008 model year Dodge Ram 1500
  • 2008-2012 model years Dodge Ram 2500
  • 2008-2012 model years Dodge Ram 3500

 

If you or someone you know has a car that has been recalled, please contact The Dailey Law Firm.  The experienced attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm believe in what is right and will be eager to help you find a solution.  Email us at askbrian@thelawshow.com or askjustin@thelawshow.com.  To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.  

Masked Royal Oak man holds razor knife to ex’s throat, is stabbed by her new boyfriend, police say

bbe2e84844d094c2b01677042df65b93A Royal Oak man is suspected of lying in wait at the house of his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend where police say he emerged from a closet and held a razor knife to her throat before he was stabbed and left in critical condition.  The attack happened just before 3 a.m. Monday in the 1000 block of East Fourth Street after the woman, her boyfriend and another man arrived home together, police said.  The woman’s boyfriend noticed his back door had been forced open and saw zip ties and duct tape set up in the kitchen, according to officers.

“The female victim’s ex-boyfriend suddenly emerged from a nearby closet and grabbed the female victim,” Royal Oak Police Lt. Dave Clemens said in a statement. “He held a razor knife to her throat and had a hatchet in the other hand.”

Wearing a mask, hooded sweatshirt and rubber gloves, the suspect, 21, was not immediately recognized by the others, police reported.

“When the victim began to fight with the suspect, the victim’s boyfriend — who had armed himself with a knife — stabbed the suspect,” Clemens said.

A man who is a friend of the woman and her boyfriend called 911 on his cellphone shortly before the suspect was stabbed.  Police said they could hear the boyfriend and his male friend struggling with the suspect on the phone call.

Both men were able to subdue the suspect before police arrived.

Clemens said the suspect suffered severe injuries and the Royal Oak Fire Department took him to William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak where he remains in critical condition and is under police guard.  The woman was treated at the scene for minor injuries to her hand and neck and did not require hospitalization, police added.

She told police the suspect had never been violent before and police said he has no known criminal history.  The suspect and the woman had a short dating relationship that ended several months ago, police said.

Clemens wouldn’t comment on whether the suspect lived nearby the house where the attack happened, but acknowledged the suspect and the current boyfriend were known to each other.

“They knew each other, but not well,” he said.

Police said the suspect faces possible felony charges of unlawful imprisonment, home invasion and felonious assault.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of an assault, please contact The Dailey Law Firm.  The experienced attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm believe in what is right and will be eager to help you find a solution.  To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.  

Sole survivor in deadly DWI crash, teen confronts man who killed her family

Her family – mother, father and three siblings – were dead, killed by a drunken driver speeding the wrong way on a Harris County freeway whose pickup slammed into their car, turning it into a fireball.
For months she lay in a coma in a local hospital with what the doctors said was a partial internal decapitation. They thought she wouldn’t make it. When she woke up, they told her she would never walk again.

But on Tuesday, almost nine months after the tragic crash, Stephanie Guzman struggled into a white hooded sweatshirt in a cold Houston courtroom and, from her wheelchair, confronted the man who had just pleaded guilty to killing her family.

“My legs were broken, I was burned, I was dead,” Guzman told a room full of supporters, including Sheriff Adrian Garcia and several deputies who had worked on the case. “They thought I was going to die. The doctors were wrong.”

Across the courtroom, in handcuffs and a white collared shirt, Efraim Carmona sat quietly as the 16-year-old spoke. Earlier in the day, he had entered a plea of guilty to five counts of intoxication manslaughter in an agreement that would send him to prison for 50 years.920x920

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Signs and sensors have helped to reduce the number of fatalities caused by wrong-way traffic, according to the Harris County Toll Road Authority. Efforts to make highways safer follow surge in wrong-way wrecks Stephanie Guzman, 15, was still in the hospital Thursday while her family’s funeral was held in Houston. For a second time, funeral marks loss of family in senseless
“My family is gone,” Guzman told him. “I know your family is sad, but you’re going to be here.”

Carmona wrote a letter to the Houston girl and her family, telling her he realizes now that he is an alcoholic who thought he had his condition under control because he had managed to hold down a job and pay his bills.

“If I could trade my life to bring your family back I would,” he wrote. “I hope you can take this letter as a lifetime of ‘I’m sorrys.’?”

Head-on horror

Carmona was drunk on June 29 when he drove onto the Sam Houston Tollway, entering an exit ramp near Humble the wrong way. Carmona’s truck collided head-on with the Guzman family’s pickup. His blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.23 percent, or almost three times the legal limit, at the time he was arrested, investigators said.

The crash killed Stephanie’s father, Valentin Guzman, 41; her mother, 40-year-old Elvira Guzman Santoyo; sisters Ani and Patricia, 12 and 11; and her 3-year-old brother, Valentin Jr.

Stephanie, then 15, was the only one to survive. She suffered a tear in her spinal column, a partial internal decapitation, the same kind of injury that killed most of her family.

She still bears scars from the crash, some under her right eye and others on her chin. On the stand, she first asked that her face not be photographed, then changed her mind after seeing the outpouring of support, later smiling easily in court and when talking to reporters.

“I’m going to be free,” she told reporters. “I know I’m going to have a good future. I know it’s going to take time, but I’m going to make it.”

Assistant District Attorney Alison Baimbridge called Guzman “our miracle.” The Harris County prosecutor said Guzman’s daily physical therapy has enabled her to walk about 70 feet with a walker.

“In her mind, she’ll be able to do everything she could do before,” Baimbridge said. “We’ve been told she’ll need assistance walking for the rest of her life. But you saw her spirit, so the sky’s the limit.”

Sentences stacked

A panel of prospective jurors was heading to state District Judge Susan Brown’s courtroom to begin jury selection in Carmona’s trial when he decided to take the plea deal that means he will have to spend at least 25 years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole.

The mechanics behind the plea bargain mean that he agreed to 10 years in jail for each of the five intoxication manslaughter charges, which are stacked. As a practical matter, Carmona has to serve half of each sentence before he is parole eligible. After he is granted parole on the first one, he will begin serving the second 10-year sentence, a process that will continue until he serves out his sentence for each charge.

The result is that he is likely to serve the lion’s share of the half-century sentence.

In court during the plea, his lawyer made it clear that Carmona was aware of strong evidence in his defense.

“It was his choice,” said David Bires. “I don’t force people to do what I want to them to do; I just make them aware of what their choices are.”

‘I’m still the same girl’

With her thick black hair cut to mask a long scar stretching across her head above her right ear, Guzman spoke for about 20 minutes against drunken driving, pledging to make herself whole and describing the pain she’s endured, physically and emotionally.

“I’m here because I lost my whole family,” she said. “No matter what happened to me, I’m still happy. I’m still the same girl.”

At times she seemed to be speaking to Carmona, who did not respond, but mostly she spoke about him. She said it was God’s place to pass judgment, not hers.

“I’m not going to judge him,” she said of the defendant. “But I want him to know that my family is gone, but I’m going to grow up happy.”

Several deputies who worked on the accident reconstruction and other facets of the case were in court for the sentencing, and shook Guzman’s hand or patted her back. The sheriff, who said he visited Guzman in the hospital after the wreck, pinned a souvenir badge on her sweatshirt just before she spoke.

“You are just a phenomenal, phenomenal young lady,” Garcia told her. “Your challenges and your family’s story has been something we’ve used to educate other people about drunk driving. We’re very proud of you.”

Elvira Guzman’s brother, Enrique Santoyo, 30, also gave a victim impact statement supporting his niece.

“We’re all here for Stephanie,” he said. “Now that my sister and my brother-in-law are no longer here, we’re going to give her all the love she needs.”

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a automobile accident, please contact The Dailey Law Firm.  The experienced attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm believe in what is right.  To schedule an appointment today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.  Or visit MyCrash.org.

Stony Creek crash survivor charged with Alcohol Possession

B9317329989Z.1_20150512220523_000_G1UAOP9DF.2-0A Shelby Township teenager who survived a car crash at Stony Creek Metropark that killed three friends has been charged with possessing alcohol in an unrelated incident.  Shelby Township police confirmed this week Gregory Stephen Bobchick, 17, was arrested at his home before dawn on July 4, booked at the Shelby Township Police Department and issued a citation charging him with minor in possession of alcohol.  Deputy Police Chief Mark Coil told The Macomb Daily someone at the home phoned police that day. At 3:40 a.m., police spoke with family members at the home on Coventry Lane, near Hayes and 25 Mile roads.

“There was a dispute (involving) young Bobchick and family members at the house. That’s why there was a call for assistance at the house,” said Coil, who did not elaborate.  After Bobchick was given the ticket, he was released by police to the custody of his father, the deputy chief said.

Michigan law prohibits anyone under age 21 from purchasing, consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages. That offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

Bobchick took a preliminary breath test which showed he had a blood-alcohol content of .061 percent, according to 41-A District Court records. He was given a personal recognizance bond that allows him to remain free without providing cash or collateral.  A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Aug. 12.

Bobchick and Joseph Narra were critically injured in the May 8 high-speed crash at Stony Creek. Killed in the crash were 17-year-olds Jonathan Manolios and Emanuel Malaj of Sterling Heights and Michael Wells of Macomb Township.  Bobchick, who was seated in the front passenger seat, was the only one wearing a seat belt when the 2008 Jaguar S Type the teens were riding in left Park Road at more than 70 mph, struck a guard rail, rolled five times and plunged into a creek near the southern dam just southwest of Stony Creek Lake.  Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham last week announced the findings of the investigation by a team of detectives. All five teenagers in the car had been drinking, and Manolios was the driver of the Jaguar at the time of the crash, Wickersham said.

Detectives this week submitted a warrant request to Washington Township municipal attorney Colleen O’Connor Worden, seeking to charge Narra — who turned age 18 in June — and Bobchick with minor in possession.  Worden said Wednesday she had not yet reviewed the documents.  “I’m going to process it the same way we receive other warrant requests,” she said.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a car accident, please contact The Dailey Law Firm.   To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312 -867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.  Or visit MyCrash.org.

Man charged with drunken driving in March crash where victims were trapped

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A 22-year-old man is charged with driving drunk and crashing, causing serious injuries to his 18-year-old passenger.-fa0ca5521ac96c57

Maninder Pal Singh was driving a 2005 Grand Am around 6 p.m. March 8 south on Baumhoff Avenue NW when he failed to yield the right of way to a westbound Chevrolet Tahoe traveling on 6 Mile Road.

Singh, who police say was not wearing a seatbelt, and 18-year-old front-seat passenger Zachariah James Zorbo were trapped inside the Pontiac until they were extracted by firefighters and taken to a hospital in serious condition.

A 21-year-old male in the backseat of the Grand Am and the 53-year-old Tahoe driver were not injured, according to police. Police say the uninjured people were wearing seatbelts.

Toxicology reports showed Singh had a blood alcohol content of 0.16 percent. Michigan law considers a driver to be drunk with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher.

Singh faces a maximum of five years in prison if convicted. Singh remains free on a $1,000 bond and faces a probable cause hearing Wednesday, July 22, in Kent County District Court before Judge Jeffrey O’Hara.

If you have recently been the victim of an automobile accident or know someone who has, please contact The Dailey Law Firm.  The attorneys at The Dailey Law Firm will be able to help you find a solution.  Visit MyCrash.org or call 866-66-LAWYER for more information.  To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys today, call the Michigan office at 248 554 5005, the Illinois office at 312 867 8800, and the Missouri office at 855 529 7469. 

Dad seeks custody of kids in Oakland Co. case

635721478174093173-Gorcyca-Family-Court-Pool-Pix-02The father of three children, who spent time in an Oakland County juvenile detention center for refusing to meet with him, is now seeking sole legal and physical custody of the kids.

The motion, filed Wednesday in Oakland County Circuit Court, says that the children’s mother, Maya Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, has been a “constant roadblock” to Omer Tsimhoni’s relationship with the children, ages 9, 10 and 14.

The motion, provided to the Free Press by public relations executive Ronn Torossian, who describes himself as a family friend, says the children’s mother “is not a fit and proper person to have legal or physical custody of the children and should be allowed supervised parenting time only when a mental health professional deems it appropriate.” It also requests that she submit to a psychological evaluation.

Lisa Stern, Eibschitz-Tsimhoni’s attorney, did not return a call seeking comment. Keri Middleditch, Omer Tsimhoni’s attorney, confirmed in an email that the motion had been filed Wednesday.

Court records indicate that the parents, who are divorced, fought for years over parenting time. Last month, after the children refused to have lunch with their father, Oakland County Circuit Judge Lisa Gorcyca sent them to Oakland County Children’s Village. And last week, after the case drew international attention, Gorcyca ordered that the children be released and sent them to summer camp.

She has accused Eibschitz-Tsimhoni of brainwashing her children and alienating them from their father.

“While this court’s remedy in this particular situation may seem drastic and offensive, so too, is the notion … that the only way to maintain a stable and loving connection with the mother is to vilify and reject the father,” Gorcyca said at the hearing last week.

After the hearing, Eibschitz-Tsimhoni she has “never done any of the things she is saying about me.” She also said: “The only thing I always said to the court is that love comes with love. You can’t terrorize someone to love. You can’t force somebody to love.”

A hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday and, on Wednesday, a hearing is expected to be held on Omer Tsimhoni’s custody motion.

According to the motion, the family lived in Israel before Eibschitz-Tsimhoni left with the children and filed for divorce in Oakland County in 2009.

The motion says that since the divorce filing, Omer Tsimhoni “has been diligent in his efforts to maintain a relationship with the children and came to the United States to see the children regularly” and, in January 2015, returned to live permanently in the United States.

It also criticizes Eibschitz-Tsimhoni, saying she has refused to follow court orders and “is crusading to eliminate Defendant Father from the lives of their children.”

It says a mental health professional, appointed by the court, determined that Eibschitz-Tsimhoni’s actions were “causing significant pain to the children and could very likely lead to future dysfunction and continued emotional suffering with a very negative effect on each of these children, long-term.”

The motion says Eibschitz-Tsimhoni alleged that on March 19 Omer Tsimhoni abused their 10-year-old son. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” the filing says.

According to the motion, Eibschitz-Tsimhoni took their son for an examination at an emergency room and purchased a sling for his arm “when one was not prescribed by the treating physician” at the ER or by the the child’s pediatrician.

The motion says Eibschitz-Tsimhoni failed to bring the oldest and youngest child to a restaurant for the father’s parenting time on March 23 and then again the next day.

Then on June 24, Gorcyca sent the children to the juvenile detention center after they refused to have lunch with their father. The motion says it was apparent that the children “had adopted whatever mindset” their mother had “forced upon them, and they refused to cooperate in the court-ordered parenting time.”

The motion also alleges that Eibschitz-Tsimhoni has retained a New York attorney to represent the children “for purposes not yet clear” and that the attorney had sent mail to the children at the summer camp.

Staff writer John Wisely contributed to this report.

If you are going through a custody battle of your own, please contact The Dailey Law Firm.  The lawyers at The Dailey Law Firm believe in what is right and are eager to help you find a solution.  To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

Iraqi refugee who ‘Came from Hell’ charged with child molestation

azalsalehjpg-3b44fe60d0976c6aGRAND RAPIDS, MI – A 22-year-old woman who said she “came from hell” when she moved from Iraq to the United States, is now facing time behind bars for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old girl.

Azal Saleh is charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct against a girl who was spending the night at a home where the Iraqi native was living.

At the Grandville home where Saleh was staying, the 14-year-old family friend was sleeping in the same basement bedroom as Saleh when the alleged incident occurred on Feb. 16, court records show.

The teen told police that Saleh, also known as “Mary,” was rubbing the girl’s arm and chest and was told to stop. She said that Saleh assured it was OK and a normal thing for friends to do, according to Grandville police reports.

The girl said that when the touching moved from over the clothes to under and then to the pubic region, she told the older woman that she was menstruating which ceased the molestation, according to an affidavit filed in Grandville District Court. The girl said there was no penetration.

A Grandville Police officer reported that Saleh told investigators that the two would “joke and play with each other by touching the other’s breasts in a joking way.”

Officer Alex Niesen wrote that Saleh admitted it was inappropriate for a 22-year-old to touch a 14-year-old’s breasts.

Saleh came to the United States in 2010 and has been working on completing her high school education while learning English at Covenant House Academy, a Grand Rapids charter school devoted to alternative education.

An April article on MLive featured Saleh as she was reunited with a childhood friend at the academy, who also ended up in West Michigan.

“A lot of bad things happened to me,” Saleh said of her time in Iraq. “I came from hell, mistreated and abused.”

Saleh has a 2-year-old daughter and currently lives on Grand Rapids’ West Side, according to court records.

Last week, Saleh rejected a plea offer from the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office that would have required her to plead to one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with the other being dropped. The charge would have carried sentencing guidelines of no more than nine months in the Kent County Jail.

Saleh rejected the offer and in the hallway of the Kent County Court House proclaimed her innocence.

A trial is scheduled for Nov. 9 before Judge Dennis Leiber. Saleh faces a maximum of two years in prison if convicted.

A conviction or plea could affect her residency status in the United States, according to the State Appellate Defenders Office.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of abuse, please contact The Dailey Law Firm.  The lawyers at The Dailey Law Firm believe in what is right.  To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.

New law clarifies property tax exemption for disabled vets

chairNew state legislation adopted this month will ease the financial burden of property taxes for totally disabled veterans.

State Rep. David Hildenbrand (R-Grand Rapids) introduced the legislation earlier this year that was approved by the State Senate on Nov. 20 and signed by the governor this week. It will allow disabled veterans who qualify to live in their homes free of property tax. “This was the least we could do for our veterans who were totally disabled while fighting for our country,” Hildenbrand told the Advance Newspapers.

Hildenbrand said he was first alerted to the need to revise the existing law when he was contacted by the widow of a disabled veteran from Cascade who had been denied the property tax exemption. “The old law said that the disabled veteran had to be making improvements to their home required by their disability to receive the tax exemption,” he said. “The widow from Cascade Township and her husband had been working to make improvements to their house to qualify for the exemption when her husband died.”

Due to the interpretation of the existing state law (PA 179 of 1954) by both the local unit of government and the Michigan Tax Tribunal, it was clear that changes were needed, he said.

“There are roughly 82,000 disabled veterans living in Michigan,” Hildenbrand said. “We must ensure that our veterans are treated with open arms once they return home to Michigan.” Many times the disability they received in battle makes gainful employment difficult – if not impossible. “This exemption recognizes that fact and provides critical financial assistance that can be used to make home ownership a reality for these veterans,” he said.

An estimated 8,000 disabled veterans in Michigan are rated as 100-percent disabled, according to the summary of the bill. If all qualified veterans were approved for an exemption, it is estimated the bill would reduce local revenue statewide by about $9.4 million per year. However, the loss of revenue is unlikely to affect the State Education Tax, because it is levied under a separate statue.

The new exemption is available to disabled veterans or, if the veteran has died, to their unremarried surviving spouse who owns and uses the home as his or her homestead. The claimant must also be a Michigan resident and is required to file the affidavit annually. The exemption takes effect immediately and had some local municipalities concerned. “We are already printing tax bills,” said Chester Township Treasurer Diane Berenbrock. “If they pay their taxes, are we supposed to refund them?”

Hildenbrand said if the veteran is approved for the exemption after the bills go out, the situation can be easily rectified. “All the veteran or their widow has to do is bring the certification form back to the municipality and show they don’t have to pay their taxes,” he said. The bill is not retroactive and the exemption starts with the 2013 taxes. “The state has sent out notifications to all of the local units of government as to how to handle application for the exemption,” he added.

In order to receive the exemption, the affidavit must be filed before completion of the Board of Review, which is Dec. 10 this year. Veterans must apply for the exemption to the municipality in which they have a residence.

QUALIFICATIONS

There are two guidelines under which a disabled veteran, or spouse of the deceased, may qualify. The first is through Public Act 179 of 1954. This is available to a disabled veteran who is receiving or has received, due to disability, pecuniary (financial) assistance for specially adapted housing. This exemption was already in place.

The second is through Public Act 161 of 2013 (Senate bill 0352). The provision is for disabled veterans who meet one of the qualifications below:

·   Has been determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to be permanently and totally disabled as a result of military service and entitled to veterans’ benefits at the 100-percent rate.

·   Has a certificate from the United States Veterans Administration, or its successors, certifying that he or she is receiving or has received pecuniary (financial) assistance due to disability for specially adapted housing.

·   Has been rated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as individually unemployable.

Veterans should contact their local unit of government to see how and when the paperwork will be available to apply for the exemption or they can work through the Grand Rapids Veteran Centers, 616-285-5795.

If you know are a disabled veteran or know someone who s that fits the qualifications,  please contact the legal team at The Dailey Law Firm.  The lawyers at The Dailey Law Firm will be eager to help you find a solution.  To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys today, call the Michigan office at 248-554-5005, the Illinois office at 312-867-8800, and the Missouri office at 855-529-7469.