- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - A state senator from Detroit was jailed Monday in a shooting incident involving his ex-wife, but isn’t required to abide by a plea deal that called for him to resign from public office.

Democrat Virgil Smith began his 10-month jail term for malicious destruction of property following a post-sentencing hearing in Wayne County Circuit Court. He also must serve five years’ probation.

But Judge Lawrence Talon upheld a ruling he made earlier this month that he could not force Smith to step down from his Senate seat. Talon said Smith could resign on his own, be voted out of office or expelled from the Senate.

Talon denied Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s efforts to pull back the plea deal with Smith.

“We believe that the law supports that the agreement remains conditional until all the terms of the agreement are fulfilled,” prosecutors’ spokeswoman Maria Miller said. “Prosecutor Worthy will appeal the court’s ruling because the defendant did not fulfill his part of the plea agreement by resigning his elected position.”

Smith, 36, was accused of shooting Anistia Thomas’ vehicle. Thomas has said she had resumed an intimate relationship with Smith but found him with a woman at his home in May.

At Smith’s arraignment last May, defense attorney Godfrey Dillard said that the woman, “forced her way into his home, attacked the defendant and the other person who was in the house.”

Senate leaders have said they expect Smith to resign. In May, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, removed Smith from Senate committees and barred him from Democrats’ closed-door caucus meetings. Republican Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof has said expulsion proceedings could be an option if necessary.

The Michigan Constitution says lawmakers are ineligible for office if convicted of a felony that breaches the “public trust.”

Smith’s father, Virgil C. Smith, is a Wayne County Circuit judge and attended Monday’s sentencing.


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