Monday, September 2, 2013

Clergy Privilege Under Attack Again

In People v Bragg, 296Mich App 433 (2012) the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the 1500 year old Priest /Penitent privilege. However that case has not dissuaded some Michigan prosecutors from attacking this long time and important privilege. In the recent case of People v Prominski, which was decide on August 22, 2013, the prosecutor’s office charged a Pastor with failing to report suspected child abuse. The defendant argued that the information was given to him in “Confidence” by a member of his church regrding her child. The Pastor said she came to him for spiritual guidance and he in turn provided her with several options including going to the authorities, but the pastor did not feel he could breach her confidential communication by going to the authorities on his own. The Court of Appeals rulled in his favor citing MCL 722.631 which protects communications to members of the clergy. The recent challenges to the clergy privilege sends a chilling effect on those who want to turn to their clergy for guidance. There is no doubt that more challenges to the privlege will come. At the Law Offices Of Raymond A. Cassar we are one of Michigan’s Premier Criminal Defense firms. Our job is to protect everyone’s Constitutional Rights. we love what we do and that gives us an advantage each time we step into the court room. Our web site is filled with useful criminal defense information. Come vist us at :

Monday, April 22, 2013

We are Attorneys and Counselors at Law

As attorneys we look at the problem, review options, then we give our clients advice on the right direction they should follow. It is much easier to act as an attorney than act as a "counselor". The later requires some emotional interest in the client. If you really want to help your client, take an emotional interest in him. Find out what is really going on in his life and maybe then you can start to help him. Yes it is more work, and yes we each have our own issues to deal with, but a little bit of caring goes along way. I recently told a drunk driving client of mine that he needs to set a better example for his son. I told the son, who also has a drunk driving charge that he needs to treat his dad with a bit more respect. They both agreed to be less selfish. It's a little step for them, but a step in the right direction. After all: "We are Attorneys and Counselors at law".

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lessons Learned from Lance Armstrong: Lying to win

Many people do not understand that lies can send you to prison. We know that some people lie all of the time, but when they lie under oath or when they lie to a grand jury it becomes perjury and that carries up to 15 years in prison . As an attorney I have seen good people and bad people lie on the witness stand.. I have seen police officers and lay witnesses lie under oath countless times. This is in spite of the fact that each and every witness swears to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help them God. So why do people lie so often when they are on the witness stand? The simple answer is that proving perjury is very difficult. It becomes much easier to prove perjury if you later admit that you lied. But most people will never admit that they lied, especially if they were lying while testifying under oath. Lying is a character flaw that no one really forgets. Remember Nixon? Lance Armstrong recently admitted that he has been lying for years. He admitted that he lied under oath, he lied during sworn depositions, he lied to the public, he lied to get ahead and he lied to win. Most people lie to win you over to their version of the story. We all know that lying is wrong and the public needs to be reminded from time to time that it is a crime to lie under oath. The Federal Government will most likely be charging Lance Armstrong with perjury. Thanks to Lance's recent admissions, their case will not be so hard to prove. The Government wants to show the public that lying under oath and lying to win will eventually make you lose. Our fundamental job as an attorney is to remind our clients to tell the truth or remain silent. Our fundamental job as a parent is to raise our children to tell the truth. There are no exceptions to the rule, even if you think you are a Super Athlete.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Spice and K2: Not good gifts to give or receive.

Michigan banned the sales of Spice, K2 and all of it's chemical derivatives. The law was passed in record time as a reaction to the public's outcry that Spice and K2 was causing many teens who were using the substance to act violently. While there has never been solid proof linking violent behavior to the use of the so called synthetic marijuana, national and local headlines prompted legislators in Michigan to act now and ask questions later. The so called "synthetic marijuana" was widely sold in most gas stations, party stores and mini marts all over the country. Commonly referred to as Spice or K2, the substance was created by chemists who tried to duplicate the effect marijuana had on its users. The various compounds used in the creation of this drug were legal and the mixture of ingredients were constantly changing to keep one step ahead of the law. The law finally banned all forms of Spice, K2 and each one of their derivatives. The penalties for this once legal compound are very stiff. Possession of this controlled substance analogue is a two year felony under MCL 333.7403(2)(b)(ii). Delivery of this chemical compound is a seven year felony per MCL 333.7408a. Either charge can derail a young persons dreams of going to college or getting a good job. Since the drug is still legal in many other states including Ohio, teens are simply driving less than an hour across the Michigan border to purchase this substance. Despite the pretty little tins and packages Spice and K2 comes wrapped in, these items are NOT good to give or receive. Our job as attorneys is to let teens know that the chemical compounds science has created can be dangerous to their health and their careers. Questions or comments

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Drinking, driving and Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for what we have. It is also the busiest drinking holiday of the year. The night before Thanksgiving is by far the heaviest drinking night of all. Most people have the following day off, so they drink. The problem is that many people drink after work and then drive home. Guess what, the police also know that it is the greatest opportunity to arrest drunk drivers. They will be out in force pulling weaving cars over and having occupants perform sobriety tests. Good advice for those that are pulled over for suspected drunk driving is not to admit that you have been drinking. Resisting the temptation to answer a police officer's question is harder than you think. The common answer is "I only had a couple of beers Officer." This admission makes the officer's job in determining probable cause to arrest you very easy. Be polite, but do not admit to consuming alcohol. Without your admission the officer may not have enough to arrest you on suspected drunk driving. We will discuss more tips to avoid drunk driving arrest in future articles. Happy Thanksgiving. Check out our web site at By Raymond A. Cassar, Attorney at Law

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Detroit passes city ordinance allowing marijuana possession.

Detroit Michigan kept a low profile on their recent marijuana referrendum that passed last week. It allows adults to possess up to an ounce of Marijuana. While this was not a Statewide mandate like Colorado or Washington had last week, it clearly shows the continuing trend to legalize marijuana. Proponents of the law and marijuana users are gaining momentum but the legal land mines are still present. The new City Ordinance requires that the amount of marijuana be less than one once and be possessed on private property by an adult 21 or older. However the public must be aware that the ordinace does not prevent state or federal charges from being brought against individuals who possess marijuana. The newly passed ordinance gives a false sense of security to marijuana users in the City of Detroit, but it does not exempt someone from being charged with delivery of marijuana. This begs the question, " how do people get the marijuana in the first place? Someone has to deliver it to customers. Also does private property mean one's own home? Or does it mean any place that is not open to the public? From a criminal attorney's perspective, this recent referrendum is filled with problems that should have been addressed before it was placed on the ballot. As it stands now, there are serious issues with the ordinance that will have to be figured out on a case by case basis in the courts. My advice is to be careful if you decide to be one of the first people to test out the city ordinance. For more information see my web site at

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sexting Can Land You In Prison

Sexting is a combination of texting with sexually driven conversations. The widespread use of the internet and text enabled cell phones, has made this a popular trend amoung many teens. However law enforcement agencies are prosecuting teens for sexting at an alarming rate. The penalties are incredibly serious and the long term consequences of a conviction can prevent teens from going to college and getting a good job. No one wants their teen on a Sex Offender Registry. Sexting between teens often leads to the sharing of nude photos. While the sharing of the photos may have been consensual, most states consider nude photos of anyone under the age of 18 to be child pornography. A teen who begs his girlfriend for a nude picture can be charged with Accostiong a Minor for Immoral Purposes. Even worse, a teen who can not resist the temptation to share the photo with his best friends, can be charged with Distribution of Child Pornography. These cases usually come to the attention of authorities as a result of an upset teen who finds out that everyone in her school has seen the nude photo she thought she gave to her boyfriend "privately". More commonly it is a parent who finds disturbing text messages on their child's phone or computer, coupled with a disturbing image of their son or daughter. They want to protect the child's reputation, so they go to the authorities. It all goes downhill from there. Teenagers simply do not realize the potential dangers of sexting. Parents need to be more vigilant than ever, even if they feel uncomfortable about invading their child's privacy. They need to explain the dangers of sexting. If parents don't check up on their teens and set them straight, the police certainly will. For more information on sexting and computer crimes visit our website at