Eric Smith, the Macomb County Prosecutor, charged with embezzlement, was given a Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond at his arraignment today. Smith and his former chief of operations were given $100,000 personal bonds on numerous criminal charges related to the alleged embezzlement of $600,000 from drug and alcohol forfeiture funds since 2012. The question of whether or not this was fair has led to debate. To gain insight into this issue, we spoke to several leaders of our criminal justice community.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and has built a criminal defense firm that is known as the top team in the state of Michigan. When asked about Eric Smith’s case and the bond, Grable stated, “A PR Bond is placing the defendant on the honor code. If the defendant comes to court and fulfills their obligations, they do not have to go into their pocket. As for Eric Smith, he was never the easiest to deal with. The fact that he may have tampered with forfeiture funds is of great concern to the integrity of our just criminal community.”
William Amadeo is a Partner at McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Amadeo did work in Macomb County and was reached for comment on the issue. In response, Amadeo said, “Listen, I understand the outrage. Eric Smith is not one of my favorite people, but with that stated, in the wake of COVID-19, jails do not want to detain defendants. This is a time when the jails are living in a state of fear. If a PR has ever been appropriate across the board, it is now as we are living with the Coronavirus.”
Peter Samouris is the founder of “Samouris Law Firm” and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Samouris has a top trial lawyer and has practiced regularly in Macomb County. In response to the Smith story, Samouris said, “He certainly is not a flight risk, and probably has a clean record, but since it is an embezzlement case, I suppose some type of money bond, something like $25,000/10%, or $50,000/10% would be appropriate.”
While anger about the Eric Smith situation is growing in Macomb County, Michigan, there are a lot of factors to consider. This is a period when the criminal justice system is at a standstill for all involved.