Judge sends Virgil Smith to jail; rules he can keep job as state senator

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Virgil Smith is going to jail for shooting at his ex-wife's car but the judge says he can still keep his job in Lansing.

Prosecutors want a re-do on that plea deal in what is shaping up to be a legal battle.

Detroiters may have sent Virgil Smith to the State Senate, a judge sent him to jail, but while he's serving time he's still in theory, serving his constituents.

"I thought and maybe I was wrong, I thought and prosecutor Worthy thought (attorney Godfrey) Dillard was a man of his word," said Lisa Lindsey, assistant Wayne County prosecutor. "And we thought Mr. Smith was a man of his word when he said he would do those things but I guess I was wrong."

Smith fired into his ex-wife's car last year and it gave way to a war of words in Wayne County Circuit Court Monday.

"If there is anything that Sen. Virgil Smith can get out of this, is to stand on principle," Dillard said. "Ambition can be counteracted by ambition. That another branch of government can come in and say you've gone too far. And I think that's what the court has said here. 'You've gone too far, madam prosecutor.'"

At issue is whether Smith should resign from the Senate. He had agreed to do so as part of a plea deal, but Judge Lawrence Talon said it was unconstitutional and with the chance to reverse-course the senator did.

"I have to say counsel is being somewhat disingenuous with all of his talk about principles," Lindsey said. "If I was on the street I would say counsel is talking out of both sides of his neck.

"When we were just sitting in the witness room discussing, he said to me in the witness room, 'I wish my client would go ahead and resign because it would make everything easier.' And he says it was a problem that was created by the court."

In the end, Talon gave Smith what he wanted, citing a higher principle.

"In granting the prosecution's motion to vacate this plea would compromise the court's integrity by involving it in an act that violates public policy and defends the constitution," Talon said.

Worthy is upset with the outcome and is going to appeal the judge's decision.

There were three charges, malicious destruction of property was the plea but there was a felonious assault charge and a felonious assault with a deadly weapon charge and a domestic violence charge which was dismissed without prejudice which is believed that if the prosecutor wants to, she can bring those back.

Senate Democrats are also not happy that Smith is serving the senate while sitting in jail.