(WJBK) - Can former state senator Virgil Smith stay in the race for city council?
The Michigan Supreme Court told the state Court of Appeals to answer that question and the court has made its ruling, rejecting Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's bid to keep him from running for office.
State Sen. Virgil Smith became a former senator not long after he shot up his ex-wife's car. Smith agreed to do 10 months in the Wayne County jail, plead guilty to malicious destruction of property, resign from the senate, and refrain from running for office for five years.
But Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Talon rejected the deal. He let Smith go to jail, but said the rest of the deal was unconstitutional.
Talon ruled that only lawmakers and voters could kick someone out of office. Prosecutors objected, and now the Michigan Court of Appeals says Talon was right.
The judges also theorized that allowing prosecutors to force lawmakers to resign could lead prosecutors to target elected officials they don't like for take-downs.
They also ruled that allowing wayward politicians to bargain away their office gives them an unfair advantage - that's because, unlike you or me, lawmakers could use their position as a bargaining chip.
The prosecutor's office says they will now take their case to the Supreme Court. Whether the court will hear their argument is anyone's guess but a lot of folks are hoping they act fast, because the Detroit City Clerk plans to start printing the general election ballots any day now.