Wayne County Prosecutor To Testify Over Former Senator Virgil Smith Case

Original Case Details

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is set to testify over her handling of Former state senator Virgil Smith’s criminal case. Smith was sentenced to ten months in the Wayne County Jail back in 2016 for a felony charge of malicious destruction of property along with admitting that he brandished a gun and fired shots at his ex-wife’s car. An initial plea deal with negotiated where the Wayne County Prosecutors Office agreed to drop three charges if Smith agreed to resign from the Senate along with agreeing to not hold elected office during his probation period, which would have been set for five years. When the negotiated plea deal went in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon, the judge removed both requirements relating Smith’s ability to hold elected office from the deal, stating that the terms were unconstitutional. Prosecutors didn’t agree with a deal that did not include resignation and no elected office so they attempted to withdraw the deal, but Judge Talon would not allow the withdrawal. Prosecutors appealed the Judge’s decision and won at the Michigan Supreme Court in 2018, where the ruling said that the judge should have allowed prosecutors to withdraw from the deal since key parts of it were removed by the judge. After the deal was successfully withdrawn, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy then offered Smith a new deal if he pled to two felonies, which included the previous malicious destruction of property charge in addition to felonious assault. Seeing as Smith had already served his jail time in 2016, and had no new charges or violations, he found this to be vindictive on Worthy’s part since Smith had a deal that included only one felony conviction previously. Smith had also unsuccessfully attempted a run for a seat on Detroit City Council after serving his jail time.

What Is The Current Situation?

Smith has accused Worthy of vindictive prosecution, and Judge Talon had previously ordered a hearing on his claims, which would entail a requirement of Worthy to testify about her handling of the case. Worthy appealed Talon’s decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals who sided with Smith in a 2-1 vote. Worthy again tried to appeal, this time to the Michigan Supreme Court which has rejected her appeal. Since all legal options for Worthy opposing this hearing have now been exhausted, she will now have to face testifying in open court about how she handled the Smith case, and answer questions as to why she took the different actions she did in the case. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman wrote a dissenting opinion stating that he opposed the idea that a prosecutor would have to testify about how and why he or she chose a specific path in a case after having failed to prevail on a legal issue. In the give and take of plea negotiation, Markman’s position was that “there is no such element of punishment or retaliation so long as the accused is free to accept or reject the prosecution’s offer.” Worthy has since instituted a “no plea deal” policy in front of Judge Talon because of his actions in voiding parts of the original plea agreement with Smith and now allowing a withdrawal of the plea deal. In spite of Justice Markman’s dissent and Worthy’s appeals, the hearing will go forward in Wayne County Circuit Court in front of Judge Talon.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or are being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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