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      Disability not to be used for restitution

      Authorities can't tap an Upper Peninsula woman's disability payments to pay off the crime of her minor son. The Michigan appeals court says Diana Alexandroni's benefits are protected under federal law. In 2007, a Gogebic County judge made her responsible for $28,000 in restitution related to an arson committed by her son. Alexandroni suffered a heart attack two years later that left her unemployed. She still owed $23,000 at the time. A judge says her disability payments are fair game because they're income, but the appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, says that's the wrong call. In a dissent, Judge Amy Ronayne Krause says the decision could allow others in Michigan to ignore traffic tickets or misdemeanors if they live on disability payments.