Ex-State Lawmaker Says He Shouldn't Have Traded His Seat For A Lighter Sentence

Aug 30, 2017

State Capitol - file photo
Credit Cheyna Roth / Michigan Public Radio Network

(MPRN-Lansing) A former state lawmaker is asking the Michigan Supreme Court to let him run for another political office despite his promise not to. Former state Senator Virgil Smith says his plea bargain was unconstitutional. 

Smith says prosecutors and judges can’t force a lawmaker to quit – only the Legislature has that power. He also says he couldn’t legally trade his office for a lighter sentence.

Smith pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after firing shots into his ex-wife’s car, and the prosecutor agreed to drop more serious felony charges. Smith resigned, but the judge threw out the part of the plea deal that barred Smith from running for office for at least five years.

So, Smith filed to run for the Detroit City Council and came out in the primary as one of the top two candidates. The prosecutor is asking for a swift decision from the court so ballots can be printed in time to be mailed to overseas voters.