Sunday, April 24, 2011

Prosecutor draws sharp divide between Biernat father-son

Macomb County’s top law man, Eric Smith, apparently believes  the apple not only fell far from the tree, but the trees aren’t even in the same forest for retired judge James Biernat Sr. and his son, assistant prosecutor James Biernat Jr.
Smith, who has been Junior’s boss since 2005 and worked with him prior to that, heaped praise on the younger Biernat, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder on April 15 to fill a judicial vacancy on the Macomb County Circuit Court bench.
“We are so proud of Jim,” Smith told The Macomb Daily. “We think he was clearly the best choice for this position. He has been a great prosecutor — always fair, always sought justice and treated everyone with respect.”
Compare that to Smith’s sharp criticism of Junior’s dad in 2008 after Biernat Sr. reversed the murder conviction of Michael George: “We’re fed up with this judge. We’ve had more complaints about this judge being soft and easy on defendants than any other judge. This judge consistently bends over backward for criminal defendants.”
On top of that, Smith retaliated against Senior by instituting a policy – heavily criticized and short lived -- in which plea bargains were withheld from criminal defendants appearing before Biernat. And Smith didn’t exactly discourage a small rally outside the courthouse protesting the decision.
The Insider suspects Smith won’t be sitting with the elder Biernat at the younger one’s swearing-in ceremony.


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