Detroit City Council Candidate Cleared to Run [COURT DECISION]

Virgil Smith

Read the full decision and the dissenting opinion below.

Update at 10:45 a.m.: Prosecutor Worthy will appeal to Michigan Supreme Court by end of business on Aug. 28, 2017. 

The Michigan appeals court won’t stop a former state lawmaker from seeking a seat on the Detroit City Council.

Virgil Smith had agreed not to seek elective office for five years when he pleaded guilty to shooting at his ex-wife’s car. But that part of the deal was thrown out by a judge, who said it was unconstitutional.

In a 2-1 decision Tuesday, the appeals court says the judge made the right call. Judges Deborah Servitto and Michael Kelly say it would be “coercion” to allow prosecutors to try to negotiate a politician’s future as part of a plea deal.

In dissent, Judge Michael Riordan says the plea deal should have been set aside at the prosecutor’s request after Wayne County Judge Lawrence Talon stripped some key conditions.

Melissa Mason

Detroit City Council District 2

Smith pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property for allegedly shooting at his ex-wife while she was in her car in May 2015. He finished second in Detroit’s District 2 primary election earlier this month. But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy asked that his candidacy be disallowed under the terms of his plea agreement, which called from him to resign from the Legislature and not hold any elected office for at least five years.

Here’s Detroit Today’s conversation about the issue and Smith’s history as a lawmaker.


Smith Court of Appeals Decision by WDET 101.9 FM on Scribd


Smith Court of Appeals Dissent by WDET 101.9 FM on Scribd

Image credit: Michigan Court of Appeals

Aired on: Morning Edition

This post is a part of 2017 Local Elections: How’s metro Detroit doing?.

This series includes WDET's coverage of candidates' in local elections -- including Detroit's mayoral, clerk and council races.

This post is a part of How's Detroit Doing?.

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