Ex-state lawmaker wins appeal over run for Detroit council

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DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan appeals court won’t stop a former state lawmaker from seeking a seat on the Detroit City Council.

Virgil Smith had agreed not to seek elective office for five years when he pleaded guilty to shooting at his ex-wife’s car. But that part of the deal was thrown out by a judge, who said it was unconstitutional.

In a 2-1 decision Tuesday, the appeals court says the judge made the right call. Judges Deborah Servitto and Michael Kelly say it would be “coercion” to allow prosecutors to try to negotiate a politician’s future as part of a plea deal.

In dissent, Judge Michael Riordan says the plea deal should have been set aside at the prosecutor’s request after Wayne County Judge Lawrence Talon stripped some key conditions.

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