Mary Chartier's Profile Image

Mary Chartier

Phone: 517.482.2000
Fax: 517.482.2070

A "pitbull in high heels" and "Mike Tyson in the courtroom" are just a few of the names that clients have given Mary over the years. Mary's advocacy skills are the result of years of experience litigating serious and complex criminal defense cases in federal and state courts around Michigan.

Mary has successfully defended clients in numerous federal and state trials, including winning a full acquittal in a federal drug dealing and money laundering case where every other co-defendant entered a guilty plea and dozens of witnesses testified against the client. In the end, Mary convinced the jury that the government had not met its very high burden of proof, and the client heard “not guilty” across the board. Mary also achieved “not guilty” verdicts in two recent cases – one involving an attempted murder and one involving multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct – in which no offers were made because the government believed their cases were so strong.

Mary’s criminal defense experience is extensive. She has served as lead counsel in numerous cases. She has represented clients accused of white collar crimes, such as health care fraud, mortgage fraud, and money laundering, as well as clients accused of drug dealing, crimes against the United States, bank robbery, criminal sexual conduct, and homicide.

Mary has also had numerous appellate successes, including winning three cases at the Michigan Supreme Court in one year. One of these successes resulted in the release of a man wrongfully convicted of homicide. She also won the medical marijuana case ofPeople v Koon at the Michigan Supreme Court, and she recently convinced the Court of Appeals to reverse the conviction of a man wrongfully convicted of criminal sexual conduct.

She has successfully handled a number of medical marijuana cases throughout the state, and Mary created and taught the nation’s first marijuana law class at a law school.  She is a nationally recognized speaker having taught criminal defense, constitutional law, and evidence at conferences held in Cambridge, Orlando, Aspen, and Key West to name just a few. In Michigan, Mary has presented extensively, including at the Michigan Judges Association and at the highly regarded Hillman Advocacy Program, which provides federal courtroom training to trial lawyers and is sponsored by the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

Mary was received numerous awards, including being named one of Michigan Lawyers Weekly's "Women in the Law". In addition to her legal background, Mary has over seven years of management experience running a multi-million dollar non-profit organization and supervising a staff of over 250 members in two states.

Before founding Alane & Chartier, P.L.C. Mary worked at the Michigan Supreme Court for Justice Michael F. Cavanagh, who is now Of Counsel at the firm, as well as at the Court of Appeals, Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, and East Lansing City Attorney’s Office. Criminal defense work is a true passion for Mary, and she works as an assertive advocate for all her clients.

Professional Activities/Community Involvement

  • Marijuana Law Section, Vice Chairperson/Chairperson-Elect, State Bar of Michigan
  • Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Hillman Advocacy Federal Training Program, Steering Committee
  • Hillman Advocacy Federal Training Program, Instructor and Coach for Criminal Trial Practice and Advanced Criminal Trial Practice
  • Marijuana Law Section, Secretary/Treasurer, State Bar of Michigan
  • Federal Bar Association, Western District of Michigan
  • Family Defense Attorneys of Michigan
  • Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Conference Planning Committee
  • Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, Board Member and Appellate Unit Chairperson
  • National College of DUI Defense
  • American Bar Foundation Fellow
  • Advocates Guild, Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society
  • American Civil Liberties Union, Lansing Lawyers Committee
  • Chairperson, State Bar of Michigan Animal Law Litigation Committee
  • Vice-President, Board of Directors, Ingham County Bar Association
  • Chairperson, Criminal Law Section, Ingham County Bar Association
  • Ingham County Bar Association, Mentoring Committee Chairperson and Mentor
  • American Bar Foundation Fellow
  • Ingham County Bar Foundation Fellow
  • Volunteer Attorney, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School Service to Soldiers Program
  • Institute for Continuing Legal Education Presenter and Community Champion
  • Women Lawyers Association of Michigan

Awards and Recognitions

  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Top Women Lawyers, 2013
  • Hiawatha Award for Outstanding Appellate Advocacy in People v Koon, Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys
  • Super Lawyers
  • Leading Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers, 2013 to 2016

Presentations

  • Perfecting the Art of Voir Dire – Selecting the Best Jurors for Your Case, State Bar of Michigan, Young Lawyers Section, Young Lawyer Summit, April 2017
  • 20 Hot Topics under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), Continuing Legal Education International, Cannabis Law Conference, April 2017
  • Featured Panelist, Eleventh Annual Fidler Institute at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California, March 2017
  • Medical Marijuana: Representing Regulated Entities, Institute for Continuing Legal Education, February 2017
  • Pending Marijuana Law Cases in Michigan’s High Courts, Michigan Cannabis Business Development Group, December 2016
  • SCRAM, BAIID, EtG tests and other bond/sentencing issues.  What they are, how they work (and don’t work) and how to challenge violations, Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, November 2016
  • Initial stages:  Marketing Tips, Interview, and Discovery, Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, November 2016
  • How Do I Defend My Client When the Courts Keep Changing the MMA?, State Bar of Michigan Marijuana Law Section Inaugural Conference, October 2016
  • Defending CSC Cases, Lapeer County Bar Association, October 2016
  • Deposition Tips and Training, National Institute for Training Advocacy, July 2016
  • Rules of Evidence You Need to Know, National College of DUI Defense, Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 2016
  • Litigating Through the Haze of Marijuana Law, State Bar of Michigan Upper Michigan Legal Institute, June 2016
  • Litigating Through the Haze of Marijuana Law, NORML, Aspen, Colorado, June 2016
  • Appeal Proofing Your Case, Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, May 2016
  • Criminal Law Update – Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions, Ingham County Bench-Bar Conference, February 2016
  • Representation Agreements, Fees, and Collections – Working with Clients and Thriving in Business, Ingham County Bar Association, January 2016
  • Medical Marijuana Use and Child Custody Cases, Family Law Institute, Institute for Continuing Legal Education, November 2015
  • “Up in Smoke”: The Legal Landscape After the Enactment of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, State Bar of Michigan Annual Conference, October 2015
  • Updates on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, Michigan Cannabis Business Development Conference, October 2015
  • The Evolving Issue of Damages in Animal Law Cases, State Bar of Michigan Annual Conference, October 2015
  • Running Your Criminal Defense Practice, Institute for Continuing Legal Education Video Series, June 2015
  • Defending OWI Cases – Hearsay, 404b, and Other Evidentiary Issues, National College for DUI Defense, Orlando, Florida, January 2015
  • Investigating Claims of Sexual Misconduct, Lansing Community College, April 2014
  • “Up in Smoke”: The Legal Landscape and Marijuana Law, NORML, Key West, Florida, December 2013
  • Behind the Bench: Tips on the Appellate Process, State Bar of Michigan, September 2013
  • “Up in Smoke”: The Legal Landscape After the Enactment of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, Davis-Dunnings Bar Association, July 2013
  • “Up in Smoke”: The Legal Landscape After the Enactment of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, Shiawassee County Bar Association, June 2013
  • Evidence for the Defense – Hearsay, 404b, and Other Evidentiary Issues, NORML, Aspen, Colorado, May 2013
  • Professionalism in Action, State Bar of Michigan and Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, April 2013
  • The Practical Impact of Medical Marijuana on Child Welfare Cases: Tips for Advising Clients, Building a Legal Arsenal to Defend Clients, Michigan State Court Administrative Office, Child Welfare Services Division, February 2013
  • “Up in Smoke”: The Legal Landscape After the Enactment of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, Michigan Judges Association Conference, August 2012
  • Exploring Careers in the Law, Michigan Supreme Court, June 2012
  • Expanding Your Practice – Ten Tips on Client Development, Ingham County Bar Association Young Lawyers Seminar Series, June 23, 2012
  • Pre-Trial Motions to File at the Beginning of Your Case and to Develop the Issues in Your Case, Institute for Continuing Legal Education, May 2012
  • Evidence for the Defense: Hearsay for the Truth Issues, Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan Advanced Criminal Defense Practice Conference, Novi, March 2012
  • “Up in Smoke”: The Interplay of Child Custody and the Medical Marijuana Statutes, Family Law Institute, State Bar of Michigan, Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and the Michigan Judicial Institute, November 2011
  • Exploring Careers in the Law, Michigan Supreme Court, June 2011
  • Circuit Court Pleas and Sentencing, Ingham County Circuit Court Appointed Counsel Training, June 2011
  • Judicial Clerkships, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, May 2011
  • Medical Marijuana: Legalities and Realities, ACLU of Michigan, April 2011
  • Host and Moderator, Animal Law Symposium, State Bar of Michigan, April 2011
  • Criminal Law and Appellate Practice, University of Michigan Innocence Project, February 2011
  • Update on Legal Issues Involving Medical Marijuana, Ingham County Bar Association, January 2011
  • Evidentiary Issues and the Right to Present a Defense, Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan Advanced Criminal Defense Practice Conference, Traverse City, November 2010
  • Women’s Leadership Conference, Michigan State University, November 2010
  • Live, Learn, and Grow, Update on Legal Issues Involving Medical Marijuana, Mid-Michigan Compassionate Choice, Lansing Community College, October 2010
  • Update on Legal Issues Involving Medical Marijuana, Compassionate Caregivers of Michigan, August 2010
  • Preserving the Record – Appellate Advocacy and Trial Strategies, Ingham County Bar Association Bench-Bar Conference, February 2010
  • Legal Update on Animal Law, Animal Law Symposium, State Bar of Michigan, April 2009
  • Best Practices for Law Firm Management, Sixth Annual Small Firm and Solo Practice Fair, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, March 2007
  • Judicial Clerkships, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, September 2005
  • Thank You Breakfast with Law Clerks, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, January 2004
  • Lunch With a Lawyer, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, July 2003

Publications and Media

  • Section 8 – Michigan Medical Marihuana Act’s Affirmative Defense Provision, State Bar of Michigan Bar Journal, August 2016
  • Author, Commentary for Michigan Model Criminal Jury Instructions on Evidence, Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • Author, Commentary for Michigan Model Criminal Jury Instructions on Sex Crimes and the Sex Offender Registry Act, Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • Model Criminal Jury Instructions, Briefs, December 2013-January 2014
  • Interviewed and quoted in Michigan Lawyers Weekly in an article about child protective proceedings entitled, “Suit against judge is a ‘wake-up call,’” December 9, 2013
  • People v Koon case profiled in Mother Jones magazine, March/April issue, “This Car Brakes for Doritos – As legalized pot spreads, what will states do about stoned drivers?”
  • Guest to discuss the State of Michigan v McQueen, the Michigan Court of Appeals case that held that patient-to-patient sales of marijuana are illegal, Impact 89FM Radio, Michigan State University, August 31, 2011
  • A Dispensary Shuffle?, City Pulse, May 11, 2011, Interviewed and quoted about Lansing City Council proposed ordinance changes affecting the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act
  • Guest to discuss the First Amendment and the City of Lansing’s Profanity Ordinance, Impact 89FM Radio, Michigan State University, May 4, 2011
  • Guest to discuss Medical Marijuana in the State of Michigan, Impact 89FM Radio, Michigan State University, April 20, 2011
  • Medical Marijuana: Legalities and Realities, Lansing ACLU Newsletter, Spring 2011
  • First Amendment and Profanity, Case summarized in newsletter, Lansing ACLU Newsletter, Spring 2011
  • Medical Marihuana Act discussed at meeting, Ingham County Legal News, January 27, 2011, Presentation summarized and quoted in legal newspaper, October 2010
  • Lansing firm recognized with 2010 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence by State Bar of Michigan, Ingham County Legal News, September 2, 2010
  • A Review of Constitutional Law Based on the Phil and Bill Show, Ingham County Bar Association Briefs, February 2009

Prior Professional Activities

  • Merit Panel Selection Committee, Western District of Michigan, Federal Public Defender, 2015
  • Merit Panel Selection Committee, Western District of Michigan, Federal Magistrate Judge, 2014
  • American Bar Association Law Practice Management Education Committee
  • Executive Council, State Bar of Michigan, Animal Law Section
  • Advisor and Chairperson, State Bar of Michigan Membership Services Committee
  • Judge, Michigan Youth in Government Judiciary Program
  • Ingham County Bar Association, Meet the Judges Committee Chairperson
  • Inns of Court, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Board of Directors, American Civil Liberties Union, Lansing
  • 55th District Court, Court-to-School Attorney and Speaker
  • Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity
  • American Bar Association Advisory Panel Member
  • Michigan Court Forms Committee, Child Protective Proceedings and Juvenile Guardianship Work Group
  • Volunteer Mediator, Resolution Services Center
  • Mediation Trainer, Michigan State Court Administrative Office
  • Ask A Lawyer, Ingham County Bar Association
  • Lansing Area AIDS Network Board Member
  • American Bar Association, Women Rainmakers Committee
  • American Bar Association, Education Committee
  • Ingham County Bar Association, Sponsorship Committee Chairperson

Legal Education

Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, MI

  • Juris Doctor, January 2002, summa cum laude
  • Rank 1/136 G.P.A. 3.91/4.00
  • Distinguished Student Award from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School Alumni Association
  • Law Review Editor-in-Chief
  • Winner and Best Brief, 2001 National Criminal Procedure Competition
  • Rakow Award for Excellence in Business Law from the Federal District Bar Association of Eastern Michigan
  • Leadership Achievement Award
  • Semi-Finalist and Second Best Oralist, 2001 National Appellate Advocacy Regional Moot Court Competition
  • Highest individual score in the Thomas M. Cooley Intra-School Moot Court Competition
  • Certificates of Merit in Criminal Law, Torts II, Civil Procedure II, Property II, Constitutional Law I, Constitutional Law II, Juvenile Law, Trial Workshop, Advanced Trial Workshop, Moot Court, and Advanced Writing
  • Teaching Assistant for Dean Nussbaumer’s Criminal Law class and Professor Bretz’s Criminal Procedure class
  • Research Assistant for Dean Cercone in the areas of Civil Procedure and Securities Litigation; Research Assistant for Professor Swedlow in the area of Criminal Procedure
  • Moot Court Executive Board; Mock Trial Board
  • Grade Appeals Board Chairperson; Appeals Magistrate
  • The James E. Burns Memorial Award, Raymond Burr Award, Dean’s List, Honor Roll, Honor’s Scholarship, and Shane Joseph Johnson Memorial Scholarship.

Testimonials for Mary Chartier

Hi Mary, I just want to once again THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for taking care of this matter and for your extreme generosity. I know that one way or the other you will be blessed for your kindness. ”

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Case Successes for Mary

The dismissal of an assault charge after an investigation revealed that the complainant had been the one who threw the first punch.

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