City of residence
Wife - Shannon
Children - Ella, Violet, Robert
Chippewa Valley High School
Central Michigan University
Detroit College of Law
Macomb County Prosecutor's Office 1993-Present:
Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Chief of Sex Crimes Unit
Senior Trial Attorney
First elected Prosecutor in 2004
When I first won election as Prosecuting Attorney twelve years ago, I hit the ground with a few advantages.
First, experience. I had the benefit of working as an Assistant Prosecutor here for eleven years prior to taking the job. I’d had the opportunity to learn under some of the best, and the privilege to run different units within the office when it came my turn to lead. I also grew up in a law enforcement family. My father, Robert Smith, was Chief of Police in Clinton Township for twenty-five years. He taught me the value of being tough on crime. And, in a county this size, there’s no shortage of serious crime. But crimes against vulnerable victims are especially upsetting.
We work with some of the best police agencies in the Country. We work very hard to ensure that the lines of communication remain open, and we support one another through the most complex prosecutions. This time-tested partnership enables us to remain tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime.
Right now, our families are under threat from the heroin epidemic. My office partners with drug coalitions such as Families Against Narcotics and school systems across the county to meet this challenge head-on. We have instituted drug courts. We’ve sought out more effective treatment programs. We work constantly with parents, police, treatment officers, and educators to drive a wedge between our kids and drugs any way we can. But vigilance is the key. We need to continue to be a presence in our children’s lives.
In an earlier stage of my career I served as Chief of the Child Protection Unit, prosecuting those who physically or sexually abuse our county’s youngest citizens. And in my first move as Prosecuting Attorney I established the Senior Protection Unit, to intercept and punish criminals who prey upon our county’s elderly. Since its inception, the Senior Protection Unit has prosecuted over nine thousand five hundred cases, with a 100% conviction rate. We have returned well over a million dollars to seniors who were scammed out of their life savings. We also canvass the county to teach senior citizens what to look out for and what steps to take when they are approached by thieves and con artists.
Currently, our Assistant Prosecutors carry some of the heaviest workloads statewide. If we were able to expand our office, we would be able to more effectively divide our individual workloads.
Currently, our Assistant Prosecutors carry some of the heaviest workloads statewide. If our office was to see a reduction in staff, we would have to look at a potential reorganization of how we staff our courts. We would seek solutions to effectively balance the individual workloads, while maintaining the level of service and professionalism expected from our staff.
The use of specialty courts has become more common in the justice system as authorities aim to decrease criminals recidivism by focusing on behavior causes, and reducing societal costs. When we are able to look beyond incarceration and punishment as the sole conclusion for certain cases, we can then explore the underlying causes of why those individuals ended up in the criminal justice system in the first place. We can help specific defendants get services and the help they need, as we balance our citizens' right to remain safe and secure in their homes and businesses.
My administrative team has worked diligently to develop a Staff Policy Manual so that Assistant Prosecutors know exactly which crimes are ineligible for a reduction and which crimes require administrative authorization for a reduction.
Effecting the prison population is not a direct role or responsibility of the Prosecuting Attorney. That being said, we are currently working with local stakeholders to examine our jail population. We will work with any legislative adjustments to pre-court and post-court procedures as they put forward effective alternatives to the way we sentence convicted criminals.
In 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court released a report outlining how our specialty courts reduce recidivism while giving afflicted defendants access to social services and other benefits. There are more than 160 courts state-wide with an emphasis on non-violent crimes involving alcohol, drugs, mental health, and issues facing veterans. These courts help defendants get the services and help they need while addressing chronic criminal recidivism.
In Macomb County, ten cases of this nature now require resentencing. In all ten cases, we have filed motions seeking to resentence each convict to non-parolable life prison terms. Make no mistake: in these cases, we’re talking the worst of the worst. These were not mischievous kids caught with a BB gun. These are ten brutal first-degree murderers; and many of these convicts raped and tortured their victims beforehand. Our concern, first and foremost, is for the families of the victims, who are now forced to relive these terrible crimes through a new round of evidentiary hearings.
In our court system, sentencing is entirely the province of the judge. Prosecutors and defense attorneys are sometimes allowed to argue for or against stiffness or leniency in a particular sentence, but the judge has complete and final say in the matter, and makes all decisions on the length and terms of any sentence. In this way, the prosecutor’s office is just like any other party in a court case: we agree with some sentencing decisions, and we disagree strongly with other ones. But the emotions and beliefs of prosecutors and defense lawyers do not bind the sentencing judge in any way.
My office is dedicated to providing the finest legal representation to our citizens and police departments. People turn to us in their hour of need. It is my personal and professional mission to see that justice is done, and that criminals who act against us are held accountable for their actions.
Candidate did not provide a response.
City of residence
Sterling Heights H. S., 1979
University of Michigan, 1985
Thomas Cooley Law School, 1992
Pontiac Grand Prix
Precinct and State Delegate
I have practiced criminal law in SE Michigan since 1994. I took a break for a few years and lived in Oregon, where I ran for State Representative in 2002 and met President Bush.
I will have to assess that question during my tenure. As the son and grandson of Detroit police officers, I am confident I will deal with any and all issues in an effective way, balancing the needs of the police agencies and the community. One major challenge is dealing with the heroin epidemic.
I would say off the top of my head we need to do more to deal with heroin addicts. I will make improvements as I think of them and also listen to others' ideas on improvements on every issue that comes up. As far as making a nice, tidy list for you, I don't see that as a priority. Every sort of criminal offender is a problem and effective ways to combat every sort of crime is important.
We need to improve our committment to all victims of crime. Making a list of the sort you suggest might look nice for a questionairre; but it is a bit absurd. Victims are victims and they all need the perpetrators to be brought to justice, and their needs need to be addressed, as well, and they will be. I have great empathy for victims of all sorts of crimes. I have been a victim of crime, myself, as have some of my family members.
I am not sure at this time. I would use my best judgment, however, and listen to my staff's input on that question.
As best I could. The office has already taken some recent hits, so I would fight for the reduction to be rescinded.
I would have to assess that question once I get on the job.
That depends on a lot of factors. Every case is different. I like the idea of trials for serious crimes. I think dangerous criminals need to spend more time in jail than they now do. Pleas do tend to keep the dockets from getting clogged, but they can be overused. It is very important to keep a proper balance on this issue, and it's one I don't take lightly.
Yes. Well, for example, marijuana-related crimes are absurd. Marijuana should be legal. As far as whether our prisons and jails should have less rather than more offenders in them, as is the underlying premise of your question, is something I will have to look into. On its face, I would say, yes, we have too many offenders in our prisons and jails, but, then again, that is not necessarily the truth. There is an alarming number of recidivists, and if people don't get rehabiliated, it is irresponsible to release them back into the community, unless they are monitored closely or sent to a treatment center. I think we need more treatment centers. I would like to see the rich help fund them.
Yes, by encouraging more involvement in prisons and jails and outpatient and in-patient treatment centers by psychologists and psychiatrists and substance abuse counselors, for example. This questions demands serious attention not just by prosecutors, but by the entire government apparatus.
I will assess that question upon my investiture. My gut feeling, however, is that it would take a lot for me to want to reduce the sentence of someone who has committed a serious crime; and your question implies I could so without consulting with their victims.
No. All too often dangerous criminals are released who remain a danger not only to their victims, but to the community at large. The laws need to address this problem. We have a full-time Legislature in Michigan, and I will try to get all 83 county prosecutors together to deal with this problem, and tackle other needs for change in the criminal law to make victims of crime safe from their victimizers and other kinks in the law.
They need to get more than a 2% raise when the head prosecutor gets a 30% raise. That was a big insult to them. I will treat them with respect and work to make changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement so that they no longer have to forego their right to run for Prosecutor and to support the prosecutorial candidate of their choice.
I will amend the section of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that forbids the assistants from running for Prosecutor and from supporting the person of their choice for their boss. Other than that obvious change, I will have to get in my new office and absorb a bit before I decide what moves I need to make. I know a few things I need to do now, but as far as me telling you what one statute needs to be changed forthwith, that is something, as an outsider at this time, that I would need to be an insider firstly to properly know.
Yes, and yes if I am invited. And I will also give Mr. Trump a piece of my mind, I might add, should I get the opportunity. I hope he will downgrade marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug, for example. It is absurd that marijuana is now seen by the feds as more dangerous than meth. Meth is nasty. Heroin is a bigger problem in Macomb County; but I don't want to ignore meth. I have spoken with people within Team Trump, by the way, and hope he can come to Freedom Hill before Election Day. Macomb County is an important county for Mr. Trump; and Mr. Trump is an important person for Macomb County.