Appeals court clears way for former Sen. Virgil Smith to run for Detroit City Council

Wayne County prosecutor fights to get former Sen. Virgil Smith off ballot

DETROIT - An appeals court has cleared the way for former Sen. Virgil Smith to run for Detroit City Council, officials announced Tuesday.

The decision was reached by a vote of 2-1.

Smith was among the winners during the August primary for Detroit City Council, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy immediately fought to get him off the ballot.

Worthy's office is now appealing the Court of Appeals' ruling. 

Smith fires shots at ex-wife's car

Smith was sentenced last year after he fired shots at his ex-wife's Mercedes with an assault rifle at his home in a long-running Lansing controversy.

Worthy said Smith, who represented the fourth district, allegedly fired several shots from a rifle into his ex-wife's Mercedes around 1 a.m. outside his home on Wexford Street.

IMAGES: Bullet-riddled vehicle allegedly shot by Sen. Virgil Smith

"The alleged actions of Sen. Smith cannot and will not be tolerated," Worthy said. "We asked for further work on the warrant and the information was received this morning. We let the facts and evidence guide our charging decision and nothing else."

Plea deal sparks controversy

As part of his plea agreement, Smith was asked to resign from office and agree not to run for public office in the future. But at his plea bargain sentencing a year ago in March, Wayne County Circuit Judge Lawrence Talon felt it was against the Michigan constitution for Smith to agree to resign from office in exchange for reduced charges.

In the plea deal, the charges went from felonious assault, felony firearms and domestic violence to malicious destruction of property in exchange for 10 months in jail, five years of probation, resigning from office and agreeing not to run for public office during his probation.

Smith served 10 months in jail and remains under probation.

Talon wouldn't accept the resignation or the portion of the deal that didn't allow Smith to run for public office as conditions. Instead, he just gave Smith the probation and jail time.

Worthy appealed the decision, and the Michigan Appeals Court ruled Talon erred in his decision, but didn't rule on the issue of appearing on the ballot.

Earlier this month, Smith came in ahead of incumbent Detroit City Council president pro-tem George Cushingberry, qualifying for the November ballot against Roy McCalister Jr., a former Detroit Police Department homicide chief and dogged -- previously unsuccessful -- council candidate.

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