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Original - Court 2nd copy - Plaintiff

Approved, SCAO 1st copy - Defendant 3rd copy - Return


STATE OF MICHIGAN CASE NO.
JUDICIAL DISTRICT
13th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT
COUNTY PROBATE
Court address Court telephone no.
203 E. Cayuga St., Bellaire, MI 49615 1'01:ox"'62)o (231) 533-6353
Plaintiff's name(s), address(es), and telephone no(s). Defendant's name(s), address(es), and telephone no(s).
Michael V. LaSusa v Antrim County Sheriff
4335 E. Timberwood Dr. Antrim County Building
Traverse City, MI 49686 203 E. Cayuga St., Bellaire, MI 49615

Plaintiff's attorney, bar no., address, and telephone no.


Lawrence R. LaSusa - P41558
LaSusa Law Offices, PLC
4335 E. Timberwood Dr.
Traverse City, MI 49686
(231) 392-9616

!SUMMONS! NOTICE TO THE DEFENDANT: In the name of the people of the State of Michigan you are notified:
1. You are being sued.
2. YOU HAVE 21 DAYS after receiving this summons to file a written answer with the court and serve a copy on the other party
ortake other lawful action with the court (28 days if you were served by mail oryou were served outside this state). (MCR2.111 [CD
3. If you do not answer or take other action within the time allowed, judgment may be entered against you for the relief demanded
in the complaint.
This summons expires
Issued ID /4 /(}on
"3!w/8
*This summons is invalid unless served on or before its expiration date.
This document must be sealed by the seal of the court.
!COMPLAINT !lnstrUCtion: The following is information that is required to be in the caption of every complaint and is to be completed
by the plaintiff. Actual allegations and the claim for relief must be stated on additional complaint pages and attached to this form.
Family Division Cases
o There is no other pending or resolved action within the jurisdiction ofthe family division of circuit court involving the family orfamily
members of the parties.
o An action within the jurisdiction of the family division of the circuit court involving the family or family members ofthe parties has
been previously filed in Court.
The action 0 remains 0 is no longer pending. The docket number and the judge assigned to the action are:
I Docket no. I Judge Bar no.

General Civil Cases


~ There is no other pending or resolved civil action arising out of the same transaction or occurrence as alleged in the complaint.
o A civil action between these parties or other parties arising out of the transaction or occurrence alleged in the complaint has
been previously filed in Court.
The action 0 remains 0 is no longer pending. The docket number and the judge assigned to the action are:

I Docket no. I Judge Bar no.

IVENUE I
Plaintiff(s) residence (include city, township, or village) Defendant(s) residence (include city, township, or village)
4335 E. Timberwood Dr., Traverse City, MI 49686 203 E. Cayuga St., Bellaire, MI 49615

Place where action arose or business conducted


Antrim County Building - 203 E. Cayuga St., Bellaire, MI 49615
I / ~
If)J~/
Date (
I:f-- A ~/JC1
Signature of attorney/plaintiff
,~
v

If you require special accommodations to use the court because of a disability or if you require a foreign language interpreter to help
you fully participate in court proceedings, please contact the court immediately to make arrangements.
MC 01 (3/08) SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT MCR 2.102(B)(11), MCR 2.104, MCR 2.105, MCR 2.107, MCR 2.113(C)(2)(a), (b), MCR 3.206(A)
SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT
PROOF OF SERVICE Case No.
TO PROCESS SERVER: You are to serve the summons and complaint not later than 91 days from the date of filing or the date
of expiration on the order for second summons. You must make and file your return with the court clerk. If you are unable to complete
service you must return this original and all copies to the court clerk.
CERTIFICATE / AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE / NONSERVICE

OFFICER CERTIFICATE OR AFFIDAVIT OF PROCESS SERVER


I certify that I am a sheriff, deputy sheriff, bailiff, appointed Being first duly sworn, I state that I am a legally competent
court officer, or attorney for a party (MCR 2.104[A][2]), and adult who is not a party or an officer of a corporate party, and
that: (notarization not required) that: (notarization required)

I served personally a copy of the summons and complaint,


I served by registered or certified mail (copy of return receipt attached) a copy of the summons and complaint,
together with
List all documents served with the Summons and Complaint

on the defendant(s):
Defendant's name Complete address(es) of service Day, date, time

Antrim County Sheriff 203 E. Cayuga St., Bellaire, MI 49615

I have personally attempted to serve the summons and complaint, together with any attachments, on the following defendant(s)
and have been unable to complete service.
Defendant's name Complete address(es) of service Day, date, time

I declare that the statements above are true to the best of my information, knowledge, and belief.

Signature
Service fee Miles traveled Mileage fee Total fee
Lawrence R. LaSusa (P41558)
$ $ $ Name (type or print)
Attorney for Plaintiff
Title
Subscribed and sworn to before me on , County, Michigan.
Date
My commission expires: Signature:
Date Deputy court clerk/Notary public
Notary public, State of Michigan, County of
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SERVICE
I acknowledge that I have received service of the summons and complaint, together with
Attachments
on
Day, date, time
on behalf of .
Signature
STATE OF MICHIGAN

IN THE 13th CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE COUNTY OF ANTRIM

MICHAEL V. LASUSA,

Plaintiff,
File No. 17 -
Hon.
Q095
-------- -_cz
v

ANTRIM COUNTY SHERIFF,

Defendant.

------------ --1

Lawrence R. LaSusa - P41558


LaSusa Law Offices, PLC
Attorneys for Plaintiff
4335 E. Timberwood Dr.
Traverse City, MI 49686
(213) 392-9616
------------ ~I

COMPLAINT

There is no other pending or resolved civil action arising out


of the same transaction or occurrence as alleged in the complaint.

Plaintiff MICHAEL V. LASUSA, by his attorneys LASUSA LAW OFFICES, PLC, states for his

Complaint against Defendant ANTRIM COUNTY SHERIFF, as follows:

NATURE OF THE CASE

This FOIA violation case involves a son's alleged murder, his indicted mother's jailhouse

suicide, and alleged law enforcement incompetence throughout the investigation, prosecution,

and incarceration. It has been and will be a matter of public interest until law enforcement

officials stop stonewalling FOIA requests and give journalists and the public a full and fair

opportunity to review all of the pertinent information concerning this case.


On Nov. 7, 2007, Sam Avery died of a single gunshot to the back of his head. He died in an

upstairs bedroom of his Elk Rapids, Michigan home where he lived with his mother, Anne

Avery-Miller (Avery-Miller), and his young sister. Avery-Miller claimed it was a suicide. State

and local law enforcement relentlessly pursued Avery-Miller as a murder suspect despite her

protestations, and those of many close to her, that she had nothing to do with her sons death.

Avery-Miller was not charged with murder until November 3, 2009, where in a rare legal

proceeding Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers, who served as a one-man grand jury

sitting in Grand Traverse County, indicted her.

On May 5, 2010, Avery-Miller, while awaiting trial, was found hanging from a bed sheet inside

her jail cell just before 11 p.m. She died a short time later. Those close to her were surprised

and perplexed as to how it could happen because she was placed on suicide watch the prior

year when she entered the Antrim County Jail, but was not deemed suicidal after an evaluation

and returned to a general population jail cell. Corrections officials claimed she showed no signs

of suicidal behavior prior to the hanging.

JURISDICTION AND PARTIES

1. This Complaint seeks the disclosure of public records under the Michigan Freedom of

Information Act (FOIA), Act 442 of 1976, MCL 15.231, et seq.

2. Plaintiff resides in Grand Traverse County, Michigan.

3. Defendant is a public body subject to the FOIA.

4. Pursuant to MCL 15.240 this Court has jurisdiction over this matter.

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GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

5. Plaintiff is an independent investigative journalist, author and researcher. His work on

criminal justice, corruption and national security issues has received national and

international recognition.

6. Plaintiff currently serves as Senior Editor at InSight Crime, a leading source of news and

analysis on organized crime in the Americas. His journalistic work has appeared in

Truthout, Jacobin, Alternet, LobeLog, VICE News, and The Huffington Post, among

other outlets.

7. On July 18, 2017, Plaintiff sent Defendant a request pursuant to FOIA for all information

and documents related to the Avery-Miller investigation, and pursuant to MCL 15.234

(2), a request for a complete fee waiver as disclosure of the requested records would

clearly be in the public interest. Exhibit A, attached hereto.

8. On July 21 2017, Defendant responded to the request stating Defendant unable to

waive the fees. Exhibit A, attached hereto.

9. MCL 15.234 (3) provides that:

A fee as described in subsection (1) shall not be charged for the cost of search,
examination, review, and the deletion and separation of exempt from nonexempt
information as provided in section 14 unless failure to charge a fee would result in
unreasonably high costs to the public body because of the nature of the request in the
particular instance, and the public body specifically identifies the nature of these
unreasonably high costs.

10. On August 14, 2017, pursuant to MCL 15.240a Plaintiff appealed Defendants

application of a fee and denial of the fee waiver request on the basis that FOIA prohibits

public bodies from charging fees for the search and review process unless the public

body can specifically identif[y] the nature of why the search and review process for the

request would constitute an unreasonably high cost. Exhibit B, attached hereto.

11. Over thirty (30) days has elapsed since Plaintiffs appeal without further response from

Defendant effectively constituting a denial of the appeal.

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12. For the Fiscal Year of 2016, Defendant had an actual budget exceeding $3.2 million.

Exhibit C, attached hereto.

13. The estimated expense to respond to Plaintiffs FOIA request represents 0.000375 of

Defendants budget.

COUNT I - VIOLATION OF FOIA

14. Plaintiff incorporates fully by reference paragraphs 1 - 13 above.

15. Defendants failures to engage in any balancing test to determine if a fee waiver was

warranted is a violation of FOIA, MCL 15.234 (2), or determine that a waiver or reduction

of the fee is in the public interest because searching for or furnishing copies of the public

record can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public.

16. Defendants refusal to respond to Plaintiff appeal is in violation of FOIA.

17. Defendants refusal to provide the requested records is in violation of FOIA, MCL 15.234

(3), as a fee shall not be charged for the cost of search, examination, review, etc. unless

failure to charge a fee would result in unreasonably high costs to the public body.

18. Defendants actions are arbitrary and capricious.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that this Honorable Court provide the following

relief:

A. Order Defendant to provide Plaintiff copies of all the information and documents in

Plaintiffs FOIA request at no charge to Plaintiff;

B. Order Defendant to preserve any information or documents in Plaintiffs FOIA request

which are withheld from production due to a claim of privilege or exemption from FOIA

for a period of not less than 18 months from the date of any such order;

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C. Declare that the practice of Defendant not specifically identifying the nature of the

unreasonably high costs for search and review is in violation of the FOIA;

D. Declare that the practice of Defendant not performing a balancing test of public interest

before assessing costs for search and review is in violation of the FOIA;

E. Declare that the practice of Defendant not responding to Plaintiffs appeal is in violation

of the FOIA;

F. Grant Plaintiff his reasonable attorney fees, costs and disbursements pursuant to MCL

15.240(6);

G. Grant Plaintiff an award of damages, including punitive damages, pursuant to MCL

15.240(7);

H. Grant Plaintiff such other and further relief as this Court deems proper under these

circumstances.

Respectfully submitted,
LaSusa Law Offices, PLC

Dated: October 2, 2017 By: ___________________________________


Lawrence R. LaSusa (P41558)

5
James L. Rossiter Mark R. Fett
Prosecuting Attorney Chief Assistant Prosecutor

205 E. Cayuga Street J. David Reck


P.O. Box 280 Assistant Prosecutor
Bellaire, Ml 49615-0280
(23 I) 533-6860 Kristina J. Droste
(231) 533-5718 (Fax) Assistant Prosecutor

July21 , 2017

Mr. Mike LaSusa


4335 East Timberwood Drive
Traverse City, Ml 49686
Via Email to m/asusa2000@yahoo. com
Dear Mr. LaSusa:

The Antrim County Prosecuting Attorney's Office is in receipt ofyour July 18, 20 17, email requesting, "All
records produced or received by the Antrim County Clerk, the Antrim County Administrator, and the Antrim County
Sherifffrom 2005 to the present mentioning Anne Avery-Miller, also known as Anne Avery Miller and Anne Therese
Avety-Miller, as well as those mentioning her son Sam Ave1y," pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, MCL
15.231 et seq.

As permitted under MCL 15.235(2)(d), a public body can extend for not more than ten ( I0) business days
the period during which a public body shall respond to a request. Your request has been forwarded to the Antrim
County Sheriff, Clerk, and Administrator, for review and action.

We are unable to waive the fees for your request. If any audio or video recordings exist, the copying cost is
$10.00 per CD/DYD. The charge for copying is 25 cents per page, but this is waived if the material is sent
electronically. You would be charged according to the number of hours it takes to retrieve, scan, review, and redact
the in formation, times the hourl y wage of the lowest paid employee who completes the request in the Clerk' s,
Sheriff's, and Administrator' s offices. All three departments have asked for an extension to collect the requested
information and two have not yet given me an estimate of costs. The Clerk' s office reported they have
approximately 700 to 800 pages of information in their file, which would take a considerable amount of time to
process. Please email my secretary, Debra, at hoond@antrimcount v.org, and let me know if you wish to go
forward with yo ur request.

Antrim County hereby gives notice to you that it is extending the period of time for which it may respond
to your request by ten (I 0) business days. Accordingly, the period of time this public body may respond to your
request shall be on or before August 7, 20 17.

s;nwely, ' ~~
..2;,, Ro,.;te'r\i~J.-:1'7.:~71/V..._ \\~
L.
Antrim County Prosecuting Attorney \
Antrim County FOIA Coordinator

Cc: Daniel Bean, Antrim County Sheri ff


Sheryl Guy, Antrim County Clerk
Peter Garwood, Antrim County Administrator
S/Civii/FOIA 201 7/LaSusa Llr 07-21-20 17

EXHIBIT A Page 1 of 1
Mike LaSusa 4335 East Timberwood Drive
Journalist Traverse City, MI 49686

August 14, 2017

Antrim County FOIA Coordinator


PO Box 280
Bellaire, MI 49615
via email: prosecutor@antrcimcounty.org

Re: FOIA request regarding Anne Avery Miller


APPEAL OF REQUEST FOR FEE WAIVER AND OR REDUCTION

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing with regard to the request I submitted under the Michigan Freedom
of Information Act (FOIA) on July 17, 2017 for records related to Anne Avery
Miller. This letter constitutes an appeal for a fee waiver and/or reduction under
section 10a of the FOIA. See MCL 15.240a.

I originally requested that all fees be waived for this request, as is permitted
under the FOIA, because the disclosure of the records I am seeking is in the
public interest because searching for or furnishing copies of the public record
can be considered as primarily benefiting the general public.

The Avery Miller case was highly publicized at the time its major events took
place, no doubt due to the shocking nature of the narrative. A woman accused of
killing her own son hangs herself in jail while awaiting trial. Accusations swirl
about misfeasance and malfeasance on the part of police and prosecutors
involved in the case. A dark and mysterious, death-filled tale playing out in a part
of Michigan famed for its tranquility and natural beauty.

This request seeks to shed new light on this story, particularly the conduct of
public officials who were involved in the Avery Miller case. By releasing the
requested records, Antrim County would be contributing to the main stated
objective of the FOIA: to ensure "that all persons . . . are entitled to full and
complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of
those who represent them as public officials and public employees."

I am hereby requesting that Antrim County waive all fees for this request
because disclosure of the requested records would serve the public interest by
shedding light on the official acts of public officials with regard to this well-
known and controversial murder/suicide case.

Furthermore, if this request for a complete fee waiver on public interest grounds
should be denied, I am hereby petitioning Antrim County to "specifically
identif[y] the nature" of why "the cost of search, examination, review, and the
deletion and separation of exempt from nonexempt information ... would

EXHIBIT B Page 1 of 2
Mike LaSusa 4335 East Timberwood Drive
Journalist Traverse City, MI 49686

result in unreasonably high costs." The FOIA prohibits public bodies from
charging fees for the search and review process unless the public body can
"specifically identif[y] the nature" of why the search and review process for the
request would constitute an "unreasonably high" cost.

Once again, I believe that the public interest in favor of disclosing these
documents outweighs the costs to the County of making these documents
available to the public. Although I would prefer to avoid litigation related to this
matter, I believe strongly in open government and press freedom, and I am
willing to defend those ideals in court, if necessary.

Sincerely,

Mike LaSusa

EXHIBIT B Page 2 of 2
101000- GENERAL FUND
ESTIMATED APPROPRIATIONS/EXPENDITURES
2014 2015 2015 2015 2015 2016 2016 2016
ACT1VI1Y ORIGINAL AMENDED ACTIVITY PROJECTED REQUESTED FINANe ADOPTED
GLNUMBER DESCRIPTlON BUDGET BUDGET THRU 10/01/15 ACTIVITY BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET
---'------
10100().301-865.334 SECONDARY ROADS GAS & Oil {3,174)
10100().301-933.001 EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE 3,427 5,000 5,000 Sll 3,300 5, 000 5,000 5,000
10100().301-933.002 EQUIP. MAINT. AGREEMENTS 17,416 25,000 25,000 220 20,000 20,000 20,000 20,000
10100().301-941.000 RENT EQUIP. lEASE 8,027 8,000 8,000 7,888 9,628 10,000 10,000 10,000
10100().301-941.335 lEASE- TNT CAR 10,833 9,500 9,500 3,873 11,619 12,000 12,000 12,000
10100().301-945.000 MISC.-CEU PHONE FORENSIC SOFTW 4,449 9,200 9,200 8,951 8,150 9,200 9,200 9,200
10100().301-946.000 MISC-cOMPUTER CRIMES EXPERT 709 1,500 1,500 200 750 1,500 1,500 1,500 - -
Totals for dept 301-SHERIFF 2,875,841 3,187,652 3,205,620 2,089,913 3,036,893 3,235,211 3,235,211 3,235,211

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EXHIBIT C Page 1 of 1