During his illustrious time as an Oakland County Circuit Court Judge, Norman Lippitt presided over a case that had troubled him deeply for many years.
In 1988, Karen Kantzler, was the defendant in a murder trial where she was convicted by a jury of second degree murder for killing her husband while he lay in bed.
The tragedy is that she had been a victim of horrible abuse by her husband for years. She suffered from battered spouse syndrome. She had been subject to 4 ½ years of physical and emotional abuse by her husband until she snapped and killed him.
After the conviction, Judge Lippitt sentenced Karen to life in prison. His belief at that time was that she would be paroled in 10 years. Prior to 1992, the Michigan Parole Board was authorized to grant parole after 10 years to those sentenced to life where it was not a case of first degree murder. This case occurred in 1988 when these rules for early parole clearly applied.
Sadly, in 1992 these rules regarding parole changed with the result that Karen Kantzler was no longer eligible for parole after 10 years.
Since then, Norman Lippitt who has been in private practice for many years after leaving the bench, has been advocating vigorously for the release of Karen Kantzler. He has been sending letters to each Michigan Governor and appearing at all of her parole hearings.
Finally, this past fall, Norman’s efforts have borne fruit. The Michigan Parole Board finally granted the release of Karen Kantzler. She is to be released from prison on December 27th after spending almost 30 years in prison.
She was as much of a victim as her former husband. This is a case where justice is finally prevailing.
In his long career as a former prosecutor, defense attorney, judge and now, civil litigator with the firm of Lippitt O’Keefe Gornbein, in Birmingham, which he founded, Norman has always advocated to the best of his ability on behalf of his many clients.
In this case, he did all that he could to make sure that Karen Kantzler did not spend the rest of her life in jail for a crime resulting from horrible abuse throughout her marriage. Justice was slow, but it has finally occurred on behalf of Karen Kantzler through the efforts of Norman Lippitt and others who acted on her behalf.