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Ex-state lawmaker Virgil Smith wins appeal over run for Detroit council

Aug 23, 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 Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon stripped some key conditions.