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June 30, 2010 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-06-30

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


From Page 1
due to a commitment within the
University to cost containment,
which will save $39 million in recur-
ring expenses next year alone.
"As a consequence of our sus-
tained efforts, we have a stable
financial base from which we can
continually enhance the educational
experience of our students," Sullivan
said in a statement at the briefing.
In her presentation to the regents,
Sullivan warned that much is left
uncertain at the state level, which
could alter the University's budget
or even tuition levels.
"An important assumption we
must make in advance of the state's
fiscal year 2011 budget is the size
of the state appropriation," Sulli-
van said. "We assume that we will
receive 315.1 million (dollars), which
is the Senate subcommittee recom-
mendation. This reflects a 1.4 mil-
lion (dollar) reduction from what we
budgeted in fiscal year 2010."
However, Sullivan added that the
state's appropriation could end up
coming in lower.
"There is a possibility that the
assumption make here is too opti-
1 mistic," she said while showing the
regents a slide titled, "Contingency
The slide, among other things,
said University President Mary Sue
Coleman and Hanlon may have to
seek a mid-year tuition increase if
the appropriation is significantly
less than is currently expected.
Prior to voting on the budget, sev-
eral regents explained their ratio-
nale behind their votes, including

Regent Denise Ilitch (D-Bingham
Farms) who voted against it.
"We can do more and we must lead
by example," Regent Denise Ilitch
(D-Bingham Farms) said before vot-
ing against the budget proposal. "It
should no longer be the assumption
that each year we will raise tuition."
Regent Andrea Fischer Newman
(R-Ann Arbor) also voted against
the General Fund budget and tuition
Several other universities have
already approved their tuition
increases, including Eastern Michi-
gan University, which chose to forgo
any tuition increase, and Michigan
Tech, which raised its tuition rates
by 5.9 percent, making it the most
expensive public university in the
The University of Virginia, where
Sullivan will become president on
August 1, announced its students
would see a 9.9-percent increase in
tuition levels next year.
The University of Wisconsin
approved a 8.1-percent tuition
increase earlier this year and Ohio
State University announced the
cost of attendance for their students
would be 8.5 percent more than its
value last year.
" A June 14 article in The
Michigan Daily ("Bridezilla in
A2") incorrectly stated War-
ren Puffer Jones's positionat
the University and the year of
the premiere of "Lucia." Jones
is a D.M.A. student, and the
opera premiered in 1835.
" Please report any error in
the Daily to corrections@

From Page 1
tion ought tobe overturned, the clinic
took on Swain's case.
Representing the Innocence Clin-
ic, University Law School profes-
sors Bridget McCormack and David
Moran, along with University Law stu-
dents Opperman, Caitlin Plummer and
Imran Syed - who is also an Arts writ-
er for The Michigan Daily - conduct-
ed a search for new evidence to help
overturn Swain's conviction, which a
press release issued by the clinic states
the original defense attorneys failed to
bring to the court's attention.
In a new July 2009 hearing under
Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge
Conrad Sindt - the same judge who
oversaw Swain's initial conviction -
the clinic presented the court with
Ronnie's new notarized testimony
along with other evidence not available
in the 2002 trial.
According to the release, Ronnie
admitted that when he was 13 years
old in 2002, he was caught molesting
a younger relative and, to protect him-
self, filed the initial accusation of his
Among the new evidence were tes-
timonies from Tanya Winterburn,
Ronnie's bus driver at the time of the
alleged incidents, and William Risk,
a boy who lived in the same neigh-
borhood as Swain and her son at the
time. The accounts of both witnesses
contradicted Ronnie's original state-
With the new information present-
ed, Sindt granted Swain a new trial
and ordered her release from prison
in August of last year, the press release

But when Sindt's decision was
brought in front of the Michigan Court
of Appeals by the prosecution on Jun.
8, the court ruled that, regardless of
whether the new evidence proved
Swain's innocence, too much time had
passed since the conviction for a retrial
to take place.
Opperman, who joined the Inno-
cence Clinic in January 2009, has
worked on Swain's case since it was
taken up, said the clinic knew fairly
early on in the quest for retrial that
prosecutors would argue too much
time has passed since Swain's convic-
"The prosecutors have been basical-
ly unwillingto speak to us," she said.
Opperman also said that this case
isn't the first difficult relationship with
prosecuting attorneys for the Inno-
cence Clinic.
"We've had some contentious rela-
tionships with prosecutors," Opper-
man said. "They're very similar to us,
the defense attorneys, in that they are
vigorously advocating their position ...
Though I can't say that we've had quite
the struggle (in the past) that we've
had in Lorinda's case."
The next move for the Innocence
Clinic is to appeal the decision to the
Michigan Supreme Court, which has
the option of rejecting the case, ulti-
mately upholding the Court of Appeals'
The clinic's argument for the
Supreme Court is that the appellate
court's interpretation of Michigan

Court rules unconstitutionally keeps
innocent people from being released
from prison.
The Innocence Clinic stated in
the press release that a decision from
the Michigan Supreme Court could
change the fate of wrongly convicted
people across the state.
"In contrast to the Michigan Court
of Appeals' decision in this case, Amer-
ican courts have long recognized that
procedural rules must yield in cases
where a prisoner can prove that he or
she is completely innocent," the press
release said.
If the Supreme Court does take the
case, it could still choose to maintain
the Michigan Court of Appeals' deci-
sion, which would likely send Swain
back to prison to complete her sen-
On Jun. 21, Sindt ruled that Swain's
bond would not be revoked during the
continuation of court proceedings and
that she may continue to stay on her
parents' farm.
Opperman added that the fight with
the prosecution's office is particularly
interesting because, with the new
statement from Ronnie, there is no vic-
tim in the case.
"We don't know who the pros-
ecutor is fighting for right now," she
Opperman said that if the Michigan
Supreme Court either does not take the
case or upholds the Court of Appeals'
decision, the Innocence Clinic intends
to take the case to federal court.


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