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Sep 12, 2017

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The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether prosecutors can force elected lawmakers to give up their seats as part of a plea deal. That decision won’t come in time to determine whether a former state senator should be removed from the November ballot.

Former state Senator Virgil Smith agreed to quit his job and not run for anything else for five years. It was part of a plea deal reached after he shot at his ex-wife’s car. Smith had already resigned from the Senate when a judge threw out that part of the bargain, saying it violates separation of powers. So, Smith filed to run for the Detroit City Council. 

The prosecutor appealed that ruling all the way up the state Supreme Court, and asked for a decision before the deadline for printing ballots. The court said no, which means arguments in the case won’t come before November. And that likely means no decision on whether Smith is eligible to run until after the election.