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Michigan man who was wrongfully jailed awarded $3.5M

DETROIT (AP) — A jury has awarded $3.5 million to a suburban Detroit man for his wrongful arrest and jailing in a case of mistaken identity.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Marvin Seales, 43, of Harper Woods was given his verdict Friday.

It came about six years after he was jailed for 15 days when police believed he was a fugitive wanted for attempted murder.

The fugitive had used Seales' name as an alias.

The lawsuit against Detroit and Police Officer Thomas Zberkot took years to resolve due to the city's historic bankruptcy. Zberkot executed the arrest warrant that landed Seales in jail.

Seales' attorney James Harrington says the wrongful jailing never would've happened if authorities listened to Seales.


Justices nix five-year ban on ex-lawmaker seeking office

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court says prosecutors were wrong to negotiate a plea deal that barred a former state lawmaker from seeking elective office for five years.

The court says a Detroit-area judge and the appeals court made the right call in throwing out that portion of the deal between Virgil Smith and prosecutor Kym Worthy.

Smith pleaded guilty in 2016 to shooting his ex-wife’s car. He was sentenced to 10 months in jail and quit his Senate seat.

The Supreme Court said a five-year ban on elective office “restricts the foundational right of voters to select” their officials. Justice David Viviano says Smith’s gun crime had no relationship to his job.

Smith’s case still will return to Wayne County court. The Supreme Court says prosecutors should have been allowed to withdraw the plea deal when a judge dropped key provisions.


Judge tosses lawsuit filed by fired Flint city lawyer

FLINT (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a former Flint city attorney who claimed she was fired for speaking out about illegal or unethical activities.

Federal Judge David Lawson says Stacy Erwin Oakes’ statements were made in her role as Flint’s chief legal officer. He says she can’t back up a retaliation claim.

Mayor Karen Weaver insists Oakes was dismissed in 2017 because of concerns about her leadership, not because she was blowing a whistle on Flint officials. Lawson says the termination letter was “terse,” but he noted that the mayor also testified to a “litany of performance-related reasons” against Oakes.


Court upholds sentence of man who flipped off judge

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a man who got a harsher prison sentence after he flipped the bird at the judge in his case.

The high court recently upheld the sentence of Shawn Ross, 39, who had agreed to plead guilty to burglary for trying to pry a change machine off a car wash wall.

The circuit judge sentenced Ross to five years in prison with 3½ years suspended. But after the judge saw Ross flip him off as he left the courtroom, he re-imposed the suspended time.

When Ross filed for re-sentencing, the judge relented but reduced the suspended portion by two months. The high court upheld that sentence.
 

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