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Governmental Affairs

The Governmental Affairs Section is primarily responsible for providing legal advice and representation to the Executive and Legislative Branches of the City of Detroit government.

Municipal Matters:
The Section, through its attorneys, provides legal advice to the Mayor, the City Council, the City Clerk, and City departments, authorities, boards, and commissions on legal issues that accompany the operation of the City government, including interpretation of State statutes such as the Michigan Home Rule City Act, as well as the Detroit City Charter, and the Detroit City Code.  

The Section provides legal representation and services to many agencies, boards and commissions of the City, such as the Board of Ethics, the Cable Commission, the Election Commission, and the Human Rights Commission.
 
The Section is responsible for researching and preparing written legal opinions and memoranda, as well as for drafting City ordinances and for reviewing for approval as to form City ordinances drafted by City departments and agencies.  The Section also prepares or reviews rules, regulations, and procedures for City departments and agencies regarding their interactions with the public, such as bylaws or rules of operation for commissions or procedures for public hearings or show cause hearings.

In addition, as described in more detail below, the Section processes most third party requests for City documents, under either the Freedom of Information Act, or pursuant to subpoenas where the City or its officials, appointees or employees are not parties in the case. The Section generally handles any litigation that arises from FOIA requests or third-party subpoenas, such as show cause hearings, motions to quash, and motions for protective orders.  Likewise, the Section handles grand jury subpoenas as well as investigative subpoenas that are authorized by federal and state law.  

Further, the Section defends litigation that arises from the Michigan Open Meetings Act and Michigan Election Law, and files litigation under the Michigan Public Heath Code to commit individuals for treatment of communicable diseases.
 
The following are links to various sites that involve the Governmental Affairs Section:

City Charter and City Code (except Zoning Ordinance):
www.municode.com

Detroit Zoning Ordinance:    
www.detroitmi.gov/CityCouncil/CouncilDivisions/CityPlanningCommission/tabid/2557/Default.aspx

Detroit City Council Agenda:
http://www.detroitmi.gov/CityCouncil/CityCouncilAgendas.aspx

Detroit City Council Meetings and Events Schedule:
http://www.detroitmi.gov/CityCouncil/CityCouncilMeetingsandEvents.aspx

Michigan Statutes:
www.mileg.org

Home Rule City Act:
http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-Act-279-of-1909
 


Subpoenas (for documents):


The Law Department accepts service for subpoenas for City of Detroit’s records only.  

Therefore, when serving subpoenas for records, please adhere to the following procedure:

1)    The subpoena must be issued in accordance with the Michigan Court Rules;

2)    The subpoena must be served to the Law Department receptionist who is on duty at the time of service;

3)    The subpoena for records must be properly completed; and

4)    The subpoena must be accompanied with the required subpoena fees, in checks or money orders.

5)    If the request is for medical records, such as ambulance run sheets, compliance with both federal HIPAA regulations and the Michigan Medical Records Access Act is required.

(Please note that incomplete subpoenas, subpoenas that require personal appearance of any City officials or employees, or subpoenas without the required fees may not be accepted and/or returned.)

The Law Department can not accept subpoenas for any individual City employee.

Subpoenas for personal appearance must be served directly to that individual.  

 

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests:

On average, the City of Detroit receives 3,500 to 4,000 FOIA requests per year.
 
All FOIA requests must be in writing and describe a public record sufficiently to enable the public body to find the public record.  (MCL15.231 et seq.)   

You may submit your written FOIA request to:


        City of Detroit FOIA Coordinator
        City of Detroit Law Department
        2 Woodward Avenue, Suite 500
        Detroit, Michigan 48226

        Fax No.:        313-224-5505
        Email Address:     FOIA@detroitmi.gov

Due to the volume of FOIA requests for police records, if you are seeking routine police records, please submit your written request to:

        City of Detroit Police Department Law Unit
        Coleman A. Young Municipal Building
        2 Woodward Avenue, Suite 500
        Detroit, Michigan 48226    

        Fax No.:        313-224-5505
        Email Address:     DPDFOIA@detroitmi.gov

The following information is required to search for routine police records (described below):

    nature of the incident;
    date of incident and, if known, time of incident;
    address; and
    names of individuals involved in the matter.  

Without this information, your request may be denied as the Police Department requires such information in order to conduct a search for the record. 

Routine Police Records include:
        911 Audio Recordings;
        911 CAD Reports;
        Police Dash-Cam Videos;
        Simple Arrest Reports;
        Mug Shots;
        Police Incident Reports concerning:
            domestic dispute matters,
            simple assault and battery,
            theft; and
        Motor Vehicle Accident Reports.

Police records concerning the following matters are not routine:
        fatal accidents,
        critical injury,
        homicide,
        narcotics,
        gang related activities and incidents, and
        criminal sexual conduct.

Therefore, requests for these documents should be submitted to the FOIA Coordinator at the Law Department.


You may download a copy of the City of Detroit FOIA or City of Detroit Police FOIA form to submit a FOIA request.  

Please note that failure to complete the form may result in a denial of the request.
    
Also, you may go to the Detroit Police Department webpage at: http://www.detroitmi.gov/Departments/PoliceDepartment/PoliceRecordsandReports

Note: If the FOIA request is for medical records, such as ambulance or an EMS run sheets, compliance with both federal HIPAA regulations and the Michigan Medical Records Access Act is required.


FOIA Appeals:
All FOIA appeals are reviewed and signed off by either the Corporation Counsel or the
Deputy Corporation Counsel.