nessel and kessel law

“The police didn’t read me my Miranda rights?”

When police need to read you your Miranda rights.

Many times when a client first walks through the door of Nessel and Kessel Law and we begin to discuss their case, I’m often asked “how can they charge me, the police read me my rights?!”  As some of the top Detroit criminal defense attorneys, I can tell you that this question comes from too many people watching too much Law & Order type television.  While many people may not know it, the “rights” they are referring to are commonly referred to as “Miranda rights.”

Continue reading ““The police didn’t read me my Miranda rights?”” »

Former police chief explains resignation

On most occasions the attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law find themselves battling with police officers from jurisdictions from all over the state.  However, today Dana Nessel has the privilege to represent the former Chief of Police for the CIty of Inkster, Vicki Yost.  For the past five months, Vicki Yost served the City of Inkster as their “top cop.”  That all came to an end yesterday, as Vicki Yost submitted her resignation to the city council.  Technically Ms. Yost submitted her 30 days notice, but it was the council that decided that her resignation would be effective immediately.  
In what has become a national news story, Vicki Yost’s resignation was triggered by an incident between an Inkster police officer and Floyd Dent.  Video shows the officer striking Mr. Dent a number of times, all while Mr. Dent appears not to be resisting in any way.  Immediately after the incident, (then) Chief Yost made a copy of the video available for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and began her own investigation into the incident.  It was not until weeks later, when the video was made public, that Vicki Yost found herself at the center of a media storm.  It has been suggested by some that Vicki Yost was not completely forthright with the information she possessed with respect to the incident.  Nothing could be further from the truth.    
Not only did (then) Chief Yost immediately make the video available to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, but she was later told by both the Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Prosecutor, Kym Worthy, to stop her own investigation so that they could investigate the matter.  Unfortunately, the city council for the City of Inkster repeatedly asked Chief Yost to provide information that could have compromised the investigations into the incident.  At this point it was clear that Chief Yost and the city council had very different ideas about how the police department should be run, prompting Vicki Yost to submit her resignation.  
Here is a link to a story, run by Fox 2, containing video and direct quotes from Vicki Yost and attorney Dana Nessel.    

The National Media Focuses on DeBoer v Snyder

At Nessel and Kessel Law, specifically Dana Nessel, we have been fielding requests from media outlets from all over the world regarding our challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. 

Here is a link to a recent story done by the New York Times, featuring our clients and their attorney, Dana Nessel.

Here is a link to another recent story done by The Guardian, a Manchester, England based newspaper. 

Defense Attorney Chris Kessel Represents Detroit Man Involved in “Neighborhood Watch Gone Wrong”

Detroit Attorney Chris Kessel on Fox 2 News

As reported by, one local elderly man with good intentions found out first-hand the consequences that can occur when one takes the role of “neighborhood watch” into their own hands. After living on Detroit’s northwest side for over four decades, 73 year-old William Heard has a reputation amongst the community for being a “hero” and “pillar” amongst his neighbors.

His an overwhelmingly positive reputation makes him an unlikely candidate to now be facing a five year felony for an incident that occurred in March 2014. On the evening in question, he heard banging noises coming from the vacant home next door and spotted men stealing parts of the property. Being a licensed gun owner, Heard grabbed his weapon and went next door to investigate.

When the men he saw turned out to be contractors and not scrappers, Heard landed in a mess of legal trouble. The contractors spotted the gun in his hand and called the police. According to FOX 2’s Amy Lange, he reported that he never pointed it at the contractors, but just held it in his hand. Unfortunately when the police arrived, Heard discovered that he had unknowingly allowed his concealed pistol license to expire during a recent period of hospitalization.

This was enough for Heard to be arrested on felony gun charges, in spite of his good intentions and positive reputation. Nessel and Kessel Law’s Chris Kessel represents Heard in court, believing that reduced charges are definitely in the cards for this case.

Detroit Attorney Dana Nessel Wins 2014 State Bar of Michigan Champion of Justice Award

Detroit Attorney Dana NesselGaining great ground in the fight for marriage equality inside Michigan courtrooms is certainly amongst attorney Dana Nessel’s most proud professional achievements, and legal leaders across the state are starting to take serious notice.

Last month, Nessel received word from the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners informing her that the legal team behind the landmark DeBoer v. Snyder case was to be honored as recipients of the 2014 Champion of Justice award. According to the organization’s website, only five of these prestigious awards are given each year to practicing attorneys and judges as nominated by the State Bar of Michigan.

The State Bar of Michigan takes into account the following criteria when considering award recipients:

  • Member in good standing of the State Bar of Michigan for at least ten years or more.
  • Strong adherence to the highest principles and traditions of the legal profession with unwavering integrity.
  • Superior professional expertise.
  • Making an outstanding professional achievement that provides benefits to the local, state, or national community in which the lawyer or judge lives.

Nessel along with the other four winners will be honored at a banquet set to be held in Grand Rapids in mid-September 2014. The entire team at Nessel and Kessel Law is very proud of Dana, who has achieved so much not only for our firm but for the greater good of the community as well!

Same-Sex Couples in Oakland County MI File Adoption Applications

In the days since the landmark decision by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman that deemed Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the air of change seems to be blowing in the Mitten state. Although a stay has been placed on the ruling, Governor Rick Snyder has said that the 320 same-sex marriages performed beforehand were legal. Even though this is a small number of LGBT couples in Michigan looking to tie the knot, the couple hundred that are deemed valid still represent major changes.

This is especially true where adoption is concerned, as it now becomes an option for same-sex couples never enjoyed before. While Governor Snyder also said that those marriages carry no rights because of the stay on Judge Friedman’s ruling, the Oakland County adoption office has decided to name caseworkers to LBGT couples who have filed applications to adopt. Just like they do for heterosexual couples, the caseworkers will perform background checks and home evaluations. According to Lauren Howard, chief of the Oakland County office, the fight over adoption will largely be left to the courts. “It’s the judicial branch that determines whether there can be an adoption — a judge determines that,” said Howard.

Reports from the county state that at least five or six other same-sex couples who were married on Saturday have filed adoption applications, but many more are also expected to do so in the upcoming days. Those that choose to submit an application will undoubtedly need legal counsel to act as a guide throughout the complex legal process, and it is always best to opt for a skilled Detroit adoption attorney with experience handling Michigan same-sex adoption cases. Nessel and Kessel Law was the legal team that stood behind April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse in their successful landmark case, and are now ready to help others interested in second-parent adoption. For the best legal advice and legal representation that is committed to protecting the rights of LGBT couples, contact our law firm today at 248-721-0296.

Obama & Fed Allowing Same Sex Marriage in Michigan, State Won’t

Despite a federal appeals court placing a stay on same-sex ceremonies in Michigan, the 300 homosexual couples who married beforehand will be permitted as valid unions. According to the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, these same-sex couples “will not be asked to wait for further resolutions by the courts.” Holder also added that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder “has made clear that the marriages that took place on Saturday were lawful and valid when entered into.”

For the time being, couples who married on Saturday in four major Michigan counties (Washtenaw, Oakland, Muskegon, and Ingham) will be allowed the exact same standing federal income and estate tax benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy. Still, a court could reject that standing at some point. While these marriages are legal under the eyes of federal law, state law as still yet to sort out its recognition. Statements from Governor Snyder imply that the state doesn’t intend on extending these rights and benefits to those couples until the legalities of same-sex unions are defined and recognized by state courts in Michigan.

The wave of same-sex couples seeking marriage came on Saturday following a the ruling from U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman that deemed the state’s ban on these unions unconstitutional. Despite the fact that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an appeal and a panel from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the ruling, the state will recognize the 300 marriages performed beforehand.

The experienced Detroit attorney who successfully represented Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer in their challenge of the state’s same-sex marriage ban applauded the federal government’s involvement and pro-marriage stance. Dana Nessel of Nessel and Kessel Law called the support from the Obama Administration “magnificent,” explaining “We expect no less. The federal government has been great. I stand by my previous position that they are all legally married, just like any others.”

Nessel did express criticism for Governor Snyder and the state’s attorney for delaying and fighting against gay-marriage legalization in Michigan. She noted that the governor is particularly contradictory as he recognizes the 300 marriages performed before the stay, but refuses to validate them. “It’s so offensive on a number of levels, particularly on a legal level,” she explained.

After the stay was extended on Tuesday, it is now likely that the case could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Those with questions regarding same-sex marriages in Michigan and second-parent adoptions should contact the knowledgeable legal team at Nessel and Kessel Law. As the law firm that spearheaded the case against the statewide ban, these skilled attorneys will not only best be able to answer any questions but also provide the best representation possible. Contact us today at 313-556-2300 to discuss your case today!

Michigan Makes Changes to the Adoption Tax Credit

It goes without saying that parenting is a really tough job, regardless of whether one is handling it solo, in a heterosexual relationship, or part of a same sex couple. Not only is the care and protection of children a big enough task, there are plenty of financial questions that come into play as well. This is especially true for parents exploring adoption.

Some Americans are aware that the maximum tax credit for adoptions was raised to $13,190 in 2014, but most aren’t clear on the guidelines that come along with it. In order to qualify for the adoption tax credit, one must have adopted a child and paid the total costs of the adoption. These tax credits vary on an individual basis and are based upon the amount of money one spends on the adoption process. Unfortunately, the adoption tax credit is not available for stepparent adoptions or adult adoptions. On the other hand, those who adopt special needs children are typically eligible to receive the full tax credit.

One’s annual income also plays a role in determining the tax credits available for adoption. If one’s adjusted gross income is equal or less than $197,880, they are eligible for the full tax credit. Those who make more than that amount annually can receive a reduced adoption credit, maxing out at incomes of $237,880. Therefore, those who earn over that amount each year are not eligible for the adoption tax credit.

If you are unsure of whether your family is eligible to receive the tax credit for adoption in Michigan, it is important to explore all of your legal rights. Contacting the experienced and knowledgeable Detroit adoption attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law will not only give a confusing situation clarity, it will also ensure that all of a client’s rights are protected in front of the law. Don’t wait to explore all of our options, contact our skilled legal team at 313-556-2300 today!


Changes to Second Parent Adoptions in Michigan Could Be Coming

The last year has brought great changes to marriage law both in Michigan and across the United States. As the LGBT community inches closer to equal marriage rights, plenty of related questions are also raised; what do same-sex couples do when it comes to adopting children? Can both persons in a homosexual relationship adopt children so that they are both listed as parents? Not yet in the Great Lakes State, but changes could be coming according to the leading Detroit adoption attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law.

Although Michigan’s Adoption Code does not currently allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt, this law could soon become a thing of the past. Judge Bernard Friedman is set to hear arguments on the future of second-parent adoptions in Michigan, as well as same-sex marriage in federal court later this month in Detroit. The legal team representing the highly publicized DeBoer-Rowse family, Nessel and Kessel Law, have assembled a nationally recognized team of expert witnesses who will testify about issues related to same-sex marriage and LGBT parenting. Should the attorneys prove successful, Judge Friedman could strike down Michigan’s ban on same-sex parent adoptions for homosexual couples. If the ruling is not stayed, these couples could begin adopting children very shortly afterward.

As experienced Michigan adoption lawyers, Nessel and Kessel knows first-hand  that same-sex parents thrive in these households to the same extent they would if in a home headed by married heterosexual partners. The only differences exist thank to Michigan’s Adoption Code and their ban on second-parent adoption. Our legal team looks forward to receiving the rulings in the DeBoer v. Snyder case and to living in a state where every child has the same protections afforded to families with heterosexual couples.

If you or a loved one has been considering second-parent adoption in Michigan, it is essential to be well-informed of all your rights and protections. Contacting an experienced and knowledgeable Detroit adoption lawyer will help clarify the legal process and ensure that every one of the client’s rights are protected. Reach out to the Nessel and Kessel law offices for more information on how we can help you by phoning us at 313-556-2300 today!

Detroit Gay Rights Attorney to Speak on Panel in Honor of Constitution Day

In honor of Constitution Day, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s Ann Arbor campus is looking to get people talking. On Friday, September 20th, the school will host an interactive panel discussion entitled, “Finding Michigan’s Invisible People.”

The featured topic will be the pending DeBoer v. Snyder case, represented by the Michigan gay rights attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law. This particular case was chosen because of the very serious constitutional issues it raises: the 2004 Michigan Marriage Amendment prohibiting the state from recognizing same-sex relationships, and the Michigan Adoption Code barring non-married couples from jointly adopting children.

Plaintiffs April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse have been in a committed relationship for many years and would get married if Michigan state law allowed it. Originally, the couple filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in order to challenge the Michigan adoption code—the ultimate obstacle in jointly adopting the three children they have adopted separately.  As the state refuses to allow same-sex couples from marrying and prohibits non-married couples from adopting, Judge Bernard Friedman allowed DeBoer and Rowse to amend their lawsuit to include an additional challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban.

“The United States Supreme Court has ruled several times, most recently this past June, that discrimination against gays and lesbians just because of their sexual orientation is unconstitutional,” explained professor of constitutional law at Cooley, Dan Ray. “The Constitution Day panel will discuss issues that are important to couples and families not just here in Michigan, but all across the country.”

The Detroit gay rights lawyers at Nessel and Kessel Law invite you to join the discussion and hear what our featured attorney, Dana Nessel, has to say about this potentially groundbreaking case!

Cooley Law School Ann Arbor Campus
3475 Plymouth Road
Held from 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
For more information, contact Julie Mullens at (734) 372-4900 ext. 8798 or by email