Thursday, September 13, 2012

Smith's slap on wrist a surprise

Eric Smith's slap on the wrist for calling wife killer Stephen Grant a "sociopath" before his conviction was surprising to some legal observers -- not because of this penalty for this minor transgression, but because some believed that the state Attorney Grievance Commission may have been looking at Smith for two other incidents.
Some suspect Smith may have been targeted for his comments and actions involving now-retired judge James Biernat Sr. because Smith in September 2008 made disparaging comments about the judge, helped encourage a rally outside the county courthouse and vowed to never approve plea deals in Biernat's court. Smith retaliated against Biernat for the judge's reversal of the first conviction of Michael George, the infamous comic book store murderer. The Macomb County Bar Association formally chastised Smith.
Or he could have been looked at for something he did two years later. The prosecutor days before the November '10 election left a phone message for Jim Perna of Clinton Township -- who was running against Smith's brother, Bob Smith Jr., for a seat on the county Board of Commissioners -- that contained vulgar language in response to a political mailer that attacked Smith's family. The public's reaction to that incident was mixed.
There has been no word of a probe in either situation by the commission, which keeps its investigations secret but will make them public if it forwards a formal complaint to the state Attorney Discipline Board.
Patrick McGlinn, senior associate counsel for the commission, told me Wednesday that the commission is not currently reviewing any complaint against Smith. He could not say whether the commission had reviewed any additional incidents in the past.
We may never know.


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