Election 2010: Soft-on-Crime Charges Fly in MI

In Michigan, both political parties are delivering campaign bombs that accuse state Supreme Court candidates of coddling criminals.

In one Democratic TV ad, a faceless narrator says Judge Mary Beth Kelly could have imprisoned Ihab Maslamani before a crime spree led to the brutal murder of a man abducted outside a sub shop. But Judge Kelly “just let him through the revolving door, despite warning signs,” the narrator says. Judge Kelly is a Republican.

The ad uses a partial quote from Judge Kelly, who told a newspaper she felt “really badly.” The judge says she was talking about efforts to rehabilitate Maslamani in the juvenile system, and that she didn’t have the authority to lock him up or deport him, according to an Associated Press article.

Separately a GOP ad assails Judge Denise Langford Morris, a Democrat, for “a history of releasing dangerous criminals,” although it does not elaborate.

The GOP ad also says Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Judge Alton Davis to the Supreme Court in a “sleazy backroom deal.” He was named when Justice Elizabeth Weaver resigned before her term’s end (see Gavel Grab). The appointment brought the court its first Democratic majority in 11 years.

Republican Justice Robert Young and Judge Kelly are portrayed by the ad as “reform judges” and unwilling to let criminals off the hook.

In Illinois, a political action committee affiliated with the Illinois Civil Justice League has launched TV advertising accusing state Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride  of siding with vicious criminals over law enforcement.

Similar radio advertising that was aired in the drive to unseat Justice Kilbride, facing a retention election, was condemned by the Illinois State Bar Association (see Gavel Grab) and by the Illinois Judges Association (check out Gavel Grab details.)

To view other ads from current judicial elections, visit Justice at Stake’s Judicial Elections 2010 page.

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