State Supreme Court Won’t Rule in Virgil Smith Ballot Case Before Election

Virgil Smith

The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether prosecutors can force elected lawmakers to give up their seats as part of a plea deal.

But that decision won’t come in time to determine whether a former state senator should be removed from the November ballot.

Former state Sen. Virgil Smith (D-Detroit) agreed to quit his job and not run for anything else for five years. It was part of a plea deal reached after he shot at his ex-wife’s car.

Smith had already resigned from the Senate when a judge threw out that part of the bargain, saying it violates separation of powers. So, Smith filed to run for the Detroit City Council. 

Click here for more of WDET’s coverage of Virgil Smith’s court case and candidacy for Detroit City Council

The prosecutor appealed that ruling all the way up the state Supreme Court, and asked for a decision before the deadline for printing ballots. The court said no, which means arguments in the case won’t come before November. And that likely means no decision on whether Smith is eligible to run until after the election.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

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.

About the Author

Rick Pluta


Rick Pluta has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.

Follow @rickpluta

We want to hear from you.
Share your thoughts and opinions: