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February 14, 2001 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-14

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LOCAL/STATE -

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 14, 2001-- 5

Man charged with death
during pursuit by police

Auto Oscars m

CANTON TOWNSHIP (AP) - A Farmington Hills
an was charged yesterday with first-degree murder in
art accident that killed an 8-year-old boy during a police
pursuit.
John Steven Moffitt, 38, also was arraigned by District
Judge John MacDonald on charges of receiving and con-
cealing stolen property over $1,000 and being a habitual
third-time offender. The murder charge carries a mandatory
life sentence upon conviction.
Authorities allege Moffitt was being pursued by Canton
Township police Saturday night when he crashed the 1988
Chevy truck he was driving into a car, killing 8-year-old
gavis Miles, of Garden City.
The chase began after police responded to a call of a lar-
ceny in progress at a home construction site in the western
Wayne County community.

Police stopped two trucks that appeared to be loaded with
construction material. Virgil Dale Cagle, 47, and Gary
Foreman, 43, both of Detroit, were arrested at the construc-
tion site without incident.
But Moffitt and passenger Joseph Walter Respondek, 43,
of Detroit, sped away after an officer asked them for identi-
fication, authorities said. Moffitt allegedly struck a Canton
officer and continued heading east into Westland. Police say
he reached speeds of 60 mph before running a red light and
broadsiding the car carrying Travis.
The Memorial Elementary School third-grader was pro-
nounced dead at the scene. The woman driving the car suf-
fered minor injuries.
"The best part of my life was ripped from my chest, the
victim's father, Donald Miles, told the Detroit Free Press.
"He's something that can never be replaced."

State battles counties over
new child support system

LANSING (AP) - Genesee Coun-
ty Friend of the Court Jennie Barkey
said she thought throughout 2000 that
she and other Friend of the Court offi-
cials were working with the state to
develop a new computer system for
tracking child support payments.
Then, in his Jan. 31 State of the
State address, Gov. John Engler took
at Genesee and nine other coun-
snot using the state's child support
computer system. Faced with a $38
million federal penalty for not having
a statewide system in place, the state
planned to penalize any counties that
didn't get on board, Engler said.
"If any county fails to participate in
the state system, I will work with the
Legislature and the chief justice to ter-
minate that county's responsibility for
*id support enforcement;' he said. "I
will not ask this legislature to continue
to pay outrageous penalties because
some counties wish to have it their way."
The words came as a surprise to
Barkey. Until some point last year,
she said, the state was still saying
its child support computer system
couldn't handle large counties such
as Wayne, Oakland and Genesee.
And even if it could, Genesee
iend of the Court had a computer
*stem of its own. Converting to
the state system would be costly.
But the governor's threat left the

"They've got us right in the corer."
- Jennie Barkey
Genessee County Friend of the Court

AP PHOTO0
Workers at the Flint General Motors plant gather at a ceremony Monday in which the Chevy Silverado was named Motor
Trend 'Truck of the Year.'
O d CUl
Convicte stleies new Y
appao edrl ortrling.

county little choice but to comply. In
recent weeks, Engler has said he would
force counties that didn't go along to
pay a share of the $38 million penalty.
"They've got us right in the corner,"
Barkey said.
Besides Wayne, Oakland and Gene-
see, other counties not yet on the state
system are Ingham, Clinton, St. Clair,
Berrien, Grand Traverse, Leelanau and
Antrim. Ingham and Clinton are taking
steps to get onto the system, and the
others have indicated they will. But it's
more of a shotgun marriage than a joy-
ful union.
Yesterday, state Family Indepen-
dence Agency Director Doug Howard
acknowledged that some of the non-
complying counties have very good
computer systems of their own for get-
ting child support payments to fami-
lies. But he said the state system is fine
and getting better, and that all counties
should convert to it.
The state plans to help counties pay
some of the conversion costs, although
it won't cover the cost of putting other
computer work on hold that counties
may have scheduled. That's an issue in

Oakland County, which planned to
move to a paperless court system by
2003.
If getting the county's child support
system in line with the state system
delays moving forward on the court
system contracts it already has signed,
the county may have to spend addi-
tional money, said Oakland County
Chief Circuit Court Judge Barry
Howard. Barry Howard is no relation
to Doug Howard.
Doug Howard told a meeting of
the Michigan Association of Coun-
ties that everyone, including the
state, deserves some of the blame
for the bind the state finds itself in.
"It's been a very difficult journey," he
said. "We're not out of the woods by a
long ways. (But) we will get this done."
Two years ago, Doug Howard didn't
think the statewide system would ever
be able to handle the biggest counties.
But the network's capacity has increased
10-fold since then, he said, and the state
needs to act quickly if it's to avoid pay-
ing a $49 million fine next year. That's
what it will owe if all 83 counties aren't
using the state system by then.

LANSING (AP) -- A convicted stalker is appealing a
federal court's ruling that he remain in prison, arguing that
Michigan's anti-stalking law is too vague and violates his
free speech rights.
David Dodge, an attorney for convicted stalker Jerry Lee
Staley, says he filed an appeal with the 6th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals last Friday. Dodge said he is now waiting
to hear whether the court will consider the appeal.
A three-judge panel from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court ruled
last week that Michigan's law clearly defines stalking and that
Staley's behavior wasn't protected as free speech. Dodge is
asking for an "en bane" appeal, in which all I11 of the 6th Cir-
cuit Court's current judges would consider the case.
Staley is serving a 15-to-25-year state prison sentence for
stalking his ex-girlfriend. During his 1994 trial, Staley was
accused of breaking into the victim's home, calling her up
to 15 times per day, chasing her with a baseball bat and

threatening to "slice her gut" with a knife.
Under Michigan's law, which went into effect in 1993,
people may be convicted of felony stalking if they make
unwanted contact with a victim two or more times and.
make a "credible threat" at least once.
The law defines stalking as repeated harassment that
"would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, intimir
dated, threatened, harassed or molested"
Staley was originally sentenced to life in prison. The
Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the sentence was too
heavy and reduced it. But the Michigan Court of.Appeals '
and the Michigan Supreme Court upheld the stalking law.
Staley then took his case to federal court, where U.S. Dis-
trict Judge Richard Enslen of Kalamazoo said the law was
too broad and ruled in Staley's favor. Michigan Attorney
General Jennifer Granholm appealed, and the 6th U.S. Cir-
cuit Court reversed Enslen's ruling last week.

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