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M

MAGISTRATE
Used generally, this title means a judge. In Michigan, a district court magistrate works in the district court and has some of the powers of a judge. A magistrate may set bail, accept bond, accept guilty pleas, sentence a person for traffic violations, and may hold informal hearings on civil infractions.
MAINTENANCE
Money to support a ward of the court or the minor children or living spouse of someone who has died.
MALFEASANCE
The intentional wrongful or unlawful misconduct by a public official. The person does the act on purpose, or intentionally, not by accident like "misfeasance." The person must also do something, unlike "nonfeasance."
MCL
See MICHIGAN COMPILED LAWS.
MCLA
See MICHIGAN COMPILED LAWS ANNOTATED.
MCR
See MICHIGAN COURT RULES.
MEDIATION
An alternative to going to court (or a kind of "alternative dispute resolution) in which a person (or people) not involved in the case helps the people who have a dispute talk about their problems and explore possible solutions so they can agree on a plan or solution.
MEDICAL SUPPORT
The amount of money one parent pays to the other parent to pay for medical or dental expenses that are not covered by insurance. It is usually ordered in addition to child support.
MENTAL HEALTH CODE
The Michigan group of laws that govern, among other things, care and hospitalization of the mentally ill and guardianships for the developmentally disabled. MCL 330.1001 et seq.
MENTAL ILLNESS
1. A serious problem with a person's mood or thinking so that they can't make good decisions, act properly, understand what's real and what's imaginary, or can't deal with everyday life and its problems.
2. Mental disease so bad that a person needs care and treatment to keep him or her safe or to keep others safe.
MENTALLY RETARDED
Well below average ability to think and learn because of a birth defect or other sickness or injury during pregnancy or as an infant. See also DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED PERSON.
MICHIGAN COMPILED LAWS ("MCL")
A series of books that contain the official version of Michigan statutes (the laws that have been passed by our Legislature). It is published by the Legislative Service Bureau.
MICHIGAN COMPILED LAWS ANNOTATED ("MCLA")
A series of books that contain the official version of all Michigan statutes (the laws that have been passed by our Legislature), plus short descriptions of cases and other explanations of what the laws mean. It is published by West Publishing Company.
MICHIGAN COURT RULES ("MCR")
Rules made by the Michigan Supreme Court to control how things are done in Michigan courts.
MICHIGAN EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS COMMISSION ("MERC")
It handles union member employment issues. It certifies certain unions as the official representative of a group of government workers, and helps settle arguments and disagreements between workers and their bosses.
MICHIGAN REVISED PROBATE CODE
The Michigan laws for wills and the property of people who have died, trusts, and guardianships or conservatorships. It has mostly been replaced by EPIC.
MICHIGAN SUPREME COURT
See SUPREME COURT.
MINOR
Usually a person under age 18. In delinquency cases, a minor is someone under age 17. See MCL 712A.2 (a).
MINOR OFFENSE
A misdemeanor or ordinance violation for which the longest possible jail term is 92 days or less and the largest possible fine is $500.00 or less.
MIRANDA
The United States Supreme Court decision, Miranda v Arizona, 348 US 436 (1966), in which the court decided that a person accused of a crime had certain rights from the United States Constitution that police must tell him or her about when they arrest him or her.
MIRANDA WARNING
The warning police must give before they question a person who is not free to leave (before a "custodial interrogation"). It is meant to tell people that they have certain rights. You've probably seen the police on television police shows give these warnings. They include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, among others.
MISDEMEANOR
A crime that can be punished by up to a year in jail or a fine.
MISFEASANCE
The wrongful or improper performance of a normally legal act or duty because of carelessness or by accident. Unlike "malfeasance," the wrong is not intentional (done on purpose). Unlike "non-feasance," the person actually does an act.
MISTRIAL
A trial that is stopped and in effect, cancelled, before it is finished because there was a serious mistake in how the trial was carried out or because the jury can't agree on the verdict.
MITTIMUS
Latin for "we send": 1. A written court order to the sheriff or warden of a jail or prison, telling him or her to receive and safely keep a person waiting to be tried or sentenced.
2. A writ (legal paper) telling one court to transfer one (or more) of its records to another court.
MODIFICATION
A change. A modification of a sentence is where the terms of the punishment is changed and a modification of a support order is where the amount of money is increased or lowered.
MONEY JUDGMENT
A specific amount of money the court awards to a person (usually the plaintiff) as payment for the damages (the losses or injuries) he or she suffered.
MOOT
A point or question in a legal case that the judge (or jury) no longer needs to decide because it has no practical importance anymore because it has already been resolved or it doesn't matter anymore. It's also a kind of a practice court for law students.
MORTGAGE
A lien on real property (a claim against it) to make sure a debt is paid. It is discharged or removed when the debt is paid. If the debt is not paid, the mortgagee (the holder of the mortgage) can foreclose on the property-that is, sell it and take the money from the sale to pay the debt.
MORTGAGEE
One who holds a mortgage; the creditor or the person to whom the money is owed, usually the person who loaned the money.
MORTGAGOR
The maker of a mortgage; the person who promises to pay and offers his land/real estate to make sure that he does. It is usually the debtor or the person who owes the debt, but not always.
MOTION
How a lawyer (or party) asks a judge to rule on a specific matter. It can be in writing and filed with the court clerk or it can be spoken or said during a court hearing. For example, a motion to reduce bail asks the court to lower the amount of bail needed to release the defendant from jail.
MOTIONS IN LIMINE
"In Limine" is Latin for "at the threshold." A motion in limine is one made before trial. It usually asks the court to rule whether certain evidence may be used at trial. It is done before trial so that the jury doesn't hear about the evidence if it is not going to be allowed at trial.
MOTION TO SUPRESS
A motion that asks the court to stop certain evidence from being used in a trial, usually because it was gotten in violation of the US Constitution, the Michigan Constitution, or another law.
MUNICIPAL COURT
A trial court whose authority is limited to the city in which it is located. It may hear cases involving $1,500 or less. A few Michigan cities kept this court instead of changing to the district court system.