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Court: 5-year ban on ex-lawmaker seeking office was illegal

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jul 26, 2018

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court says prosecutors were wrong to negotiate a plea deal that barred a former state lawmaker from seeking elective office for five years.

The court says a Detroit-area judge and the appeals court made the right call in throwing out that portion of the deal between Virgil Smith and prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Smith pleaded guilty in 2016 to shooting his ex-wife’s car. He was sentenced to 10 months in jail and quit his Senate seat.

The Supreme Court said Thursday that a five-year ban on elective office “restricts the foundational right of voters to select” their officials. Justice David Viviano says Smith’s gun crime had no relationship to his job.

Smith’s case still will return to Wayne County court. The Supreme Court says prosecutors should have been allowed to withdraw the plea deal when a judge dropped key provisions.