Posted by Dene Hadden on Dec 03, 2019
SPOKES VOL. LXVI NO. 22                                                                               December 3, 2019
We were greeted this morning by Dan Liehr and Don Kitchin
President Odland opened this week’s meeting with “America the Beautiful”  and Tom Renner followed that with our invocation in the absence of Art Ayers who is undergoing cataract surgery this morning..
Our Guests this morning included our speaker, Chad Catalino, his assistant Ellen Christie.
  • December 10th is our Holiday Party at the Yacht Club. No morning meeting next week!
  • December 17th is the Open Door Dinner at the Methodist Church  We will email a reminder next week but we need your help that evening.
  • December 21st is our day to do the Salvation Army Bell Ringing.  All slots are filled for the very first time!
  • The Rotary Foundation is offering a matching grant for donations to their foundation over the next few weeks.  A quick way to get to your Paul Harris award!
  • There will be no meetings on December 10, 24, and 31.
  • We received a nice thank you note from the Chamber of Commerce about our ABO
  • Election of Officers will take place on December 17.  The slate of nominees will be emailed today.
  • We will be doing Blessings in a Backpack this Friday and again on December 13th.
Jim Davis was our song leader this morning and began with “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”.It was first published in 1912, at a time when songs in tribute to a romanticized Ireland were very numerous and popular both in Britain and the United States.We followed that with “April Showers with only slight problems when the time changed.The song was introduced in the 1921 Broadway musical Bombo, where it was performed by Al Jolson.We finished with “All Hail to Rotary”, the tune of which may have sounded familiar to Navy veterans.
    Don Dobbins had a chance to win the pot today but drew the Queen who has made another appearance – her third in a row.  Kaileigh Eddy won the $2 prize.
    • Jean Stein is celebrating the 16th birthday of her granddaughter this week.
    • Jim Davis also has a granddaughter celebrating her birthday this week.
    • These lucky granddaughters missed the chance to hear us sing “Happy Birthday” Ludington style in their honor.
    • Kathy Brickley was pleased to announce that our guest, Ellen Christie, just passed her Bar Exam and will be practicing law in Van Buren County.
    • Tom Fleming announced that it is Big Ten Tuesday!!  He said it’s a great time to buy gas from Shell this week.  Lots of discounts! He also noted that when there is a price “restoration”  (When the price goes up) rewards members get the unrestored price until midnight that night.
    • Tom Ruesink reminded everyone that next week’s 50/50 tickets will be more expensive, with the proceeds going to We Care.  He also notes that if you want your donation to go to the We Care Food Pantry to note that on the memo line of their check.  All other donations, cash or check, will go to the We Care office for them to distribute as they see necessary.
    • There was no talk of Michigan Football this week, but Larry Wittkop noted that all five of the Division I football programs are bowl eligible this year.
    Kathy Brickley introduced our speaker this morning, Chad Catalino.
    Kathy, during her introduction and Chad as he began, talked about our obligation according to the 6th Amendment of the Constitution to provide due process to those who cannot afford legal counsel.  Studies have shown that Michigan has not met that obligation and the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission has been working with counties to improve our standing.  The best way to do that is through a Public Defender’s office that takes a holistic approach to defending clients.
    Chad talked about the study that led to improvement, titled “A Race to the Bottom – Speed and Savings over Due Process”.  What was discovered that there was a culture that the key for providing indigent defense was to do it at the lowest cost and to take as little of the court’s time as possible.  The system and pressure to get things done had caused this culture.  The average cost of defending clients was $7.35.
    The study recommended the implementation of four simple standards to improve the system and make sure clients constitutional rights were protected.
    These standards include:
    1. Educate and train lawyers who will be representing indigent clients in a holistic approach to representing them.
    2. Do an interview of clients within 72 hours of them being charged or arrested to get a better picture of what happened and what their circumstances include.  Usually do this before any consultation with prosecutors or judge.
    3. Have availability to experts and investigators.  In Chad’s case, they have partnered with area colleges and universities to get social work students to work as interns with his office to provide one source of experts in that area.
    4. Show up at first bond hearing.  This allows client to have representation right away that understands their situation and can provide information that might keep a client out of jail when being in jail waiting for bond or trial might cause severe damage to a job situation or family care situation.
    The offices in Van Buren and Allegan County include two attorneys in each county plus additional help as needed and trained.
    Chad closed with the story of a young woman who was charged with forging checks.  He described her situation and her determination to not accept a plea deal in spite of her guilt.  Using a holistic approach they discovered that she had many factors that entered into her situation, from housing, disability payments, child care and others things that made it difficult for her to accept the plea deal as presented.  Working with the whole team, they were able to develop a solution where she could do the jail time required by her guilt but leave jail and go into a circumstance that gave her a good place to be to move forward in a positive way.
    President Odland thanked Chad for his very informative presentation and bestowed one of our valuable speaker’s gifts on him.
    We closed the meeting with the Four Way Test.
    No Meeting Next Week – Christmas Party at the Yacht Club
    December 17th program: Jeremy Burleson will introduce Dr. Trevor Kabatzke, President of Lake Michigan College
    Greeters:  Steve Larsen and Dan Liehr
    Editarian:  Dene Hadden