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Berryman v. Mackey

Court of Appeals of Michigan

March 12, 2019

JAMES M. BERRYMAN, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
WENDELL SHANE MACKEY, Respondent-Appellant.

          Lenawee Circuit Court LC No. 17-044270-PH

          Before: O'Brien, P.J., and Jansen and Ronayne Krause, JJ.

          Per Curiam.

         Respondent appeals as of right a modified personal protection order (PPO) entered in favor of petitioner. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we vacate the modified PPO.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This case arises from an acrimonious relationship between petitioner-the former mayor of Adrian, Michigan-and respondent. Respondent is active in publicly commenting on and writing about the political landscape in Adrian, and, at the time of the events giving rise to the PPO, he was a candidate for the Adrian City Commission. Over 30 years earlier, in 1986, respondent was convicted of breaking into petitioner's flower shop in Adrian and sentenced to 6½ to 10 years' imprisonment. In the spring of 2017, respondent began writing a series of articles on an online blog-exposingadrian.com-that were critical of the way Adrian public officials governed the city.

         On July 6, 2017, petitioner petitioned the trial court for an ex parte PPO against respondent. According to petitioner, this filing was prompted by a verbal exchange between petitioner and respondent at a city commission meeting and a later email that respondent sent to city officials on July 5, 2017. The relevant verbal exchange took place at a public meeting of the Adrian City Commission on June 19, 2017, after respondent commented on issues before the commission during the public comment portion of the meeting. Petitioner initiated the following verbal exchange:

[Petitioner]. Mr. Mackey, let me just, while you're there, ask you, are you the same Shane Mackey that robbed my flower shop back in 1986?
[Respondent]. I certainly am.
[Petitioner]. Are you?
[Respondent]. Yes, I am.
[Petitioner]. Okay. And then you wonder why --
[Respondent]. I'm also the same Shane Mackey who you put in prison because you conspired with Judge Glaser as a young teenager for stealing teddy bears out of your store. And then I went to law school, and here I am.
[Petitioner]. Okay. I just wanted to make sure that you're the same one that spent time in prison for that.
[Respondent]. I'm sorry?
[Petitioner]. You make those kind of accusations towards this commission, and yet -- and yet, you took your time --
[Respondent]. I was 19 years old. I'm 51 now. What else you got?
[Petitioner]. Yeah.
[Respondent]. What else you got? Because you're already dirty, so go ahead and get it out there. Because you're already dirty in this selection process.
[Petitioner]. Because you're the one that continues to bring -- to bring up things about this ...

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