On December 18, 2020, Grewal Law attorneys filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Iosco County Prosecutor James Bacarella against Iosco County and its Board of Commissioners in response to a series of actions and funding cuts by the Board that would have dramatically reduced the level of funding for the Prosecutor’s office and would have resulted in laying off 25% of the Prosecutor’s staff. The lawsuit alleged that the proposed level of funding would make it impossible for Prosecutor Bacarella to discharge the duties of his office and ensure that office would have minimum serviceable level of funding required by law to ensure that the case load could be managed. The lawsuit was supported by surveys and affidavits showing that the Iosco County Prosecutor’s office received substantially lower funding than all other comparably sized counties in Michigan.
The lawsuit also sought emergency ex parte relief for a temporary restraining order and an order to show cause why a writ of mandamus should be entered. Judge Robert Bennett granted the extraordinary interim relief on December 23, 2020, which included an injunction to prevent the County from implementing the budget cuts to Prosecutor Bacarella’s office.
On January 29, 2021, Grewal Law attorneys John Fraser and Cheyenne Benyi represented Prosecutor Bacarella at a live in-person evidentiary hearing—essentially a bench trial—to determine whether a preliminary injunction should be granted to prevent the implementation of the proposed budget cuts and require Iosco County to maintain the status quo level of funding that had been provided in the previous year’s budget. The hearing was also to determine whether the Court should issue a writ of mandamus to restore the Prosecutor’s Operating Under the Influence of Liquor (“OUIL”) fund, which the County had taken action to dissolve and place the funds into the County’s general fund. A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary court order that directs a government official to take a particular action to fulfill their official duties.
Following witness testimony, including expert testimony presented by Alcona County Prosecutor Tom Weichel on behalf of Prosecutor Bacarella, introduction of evidence, and arguments by the parties, Judge Bennett granted all of the relief sought by Prosecutor Bacarella. Grewal Law is proud to announce this victory on behalf of Iosco County Prosecutor James Bacarella. The Court’s decision prevents the proposed budget cuts to the Prosecutor’s office from being implemented during the pendency of the case and requires the County to restore and maintain the OUIL fund as a separate fund from the County’s general fund.
Grewal Law attorney John Fraser has served as the lead on this case and was assisted by attorney Cheyenne Benyi. After the hearing, Attorney Fraser made the following statements, “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot about the practice of law over the last 11 or so months, with most appearances being virtual in nature. It felt great to get back into the courtroom and fight on behalf of our clients. It’s an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to represent a fellow member of the bar, an elected official, and county prosecutor.”
Prosecutor Bacarella offered kind words to Attorney Fraser following the hearing, “You did a great job today. I couldn’t be happier with your work. You are an impressive attorney. Thank you so much for what you did for the citizens of Iosco County.”
Grewal Law PLLC carries on the Grewal family tradition of serving clients in the Mid-Michigan area. Collectively, our legal team has 100 years of experience. Our lawyers employ a client-focused approach in their legal practice areas, which include but are not limited to criminal defense, sexual abuse and assault, family law, cannabis law and medical malpractice. Above everything, we believe in fighting to protect your rights.
With a proven track record of favorable multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements, Grewal Law PLLC’s attorneys are ready to fight for you. Our attorneys are committed to representing our clients while maintaining a high quality of service and ethics, gaining them recognition from prestigious organizations like: Best Lawyers®, Leading Lawyers and The National Trial Lawyers.
An associate attorney with Grewal Law PLLC in Okemos, Michigan, John Fraser focuses on general litigation, criminal defense, cannabis law, and appellate law. John is also an adjunct professor of law at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School where he teaches a course on Medical Marijuana and the Law.