Effective September 1, 2017, Steven Schwartz is merging his firm, Steven H. Schwartz & Associates, P.L.C. with Keller Thoma, P.C. and will become a partner in that firm.  Mr. Schwartz continues his practice as an employment and labor relations attorney, and as an arbitrator.  For further information, please go to the Keller Thoma website.

Michigan Codifies Garrity Rights for Law Enforcement Officers

On December 29, 2006, Michigan enacted M.C.L. 15.391, codifying the protection of involuntary statements made by law enforcement officers. Such protection has been in place since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Garrity v. State of N.J., 385 U.S. 493 (1967). In Garrity, the Court ruled that public sector employees are in fact under duress and deprived of free choice when asked to either incriminate themselves or forfeit their jobs. Therefore, the use of such statements is prohibited in a subsequent criminal proceeding as involuntary self-incrimination.

The new Michigan law defines an “involuntary statement” as a statement made by the officer under threat of dismissal or other employment sanction. “Law enforcement officers” include emergency dispatch workers and local corrections officers. As in Garrity, involuntary statements may not be used against the officer in a criminal proceeding. Additionally, such statements are confidential and may not be disclosed without establishing one of the following: 1) officer written consent, 2) search warrant, subpoena, or court order, 3) collective bargaining or administrative or legal proceeding involving the officer’s employment status or to defend the officer or law enforcement agency in a criminal proceeding, or 4) with limited use by legal counsel in a civil action against the officer or law enforcement agency.