A Michigan Supreme Court Justice Hired an Ex-Con. Another Justice Shamed Him Into Resigning.
A few months ago, I wrote about a public backlash among some conservative pundits and politicians to hiring formerly incarcerated people. But both sides of the political binary have more in common than they’d like to admit. This subject is unfortunately no exception.
For the latest example, we can look to Michigan, where a Democratic jurist on the state’s highest court went on a press tour this week to lambast his colleague’s decision to hire an ex-convict as a law clerk.
Pete Martel, who was brought on by Michigan Supreme Court Justice Kyra Harris Bolden, has since resigned as a result. It’s another reminder that there is often bipartisan consensus opposed to redemption for the formerly incarcerated, no matter how dramatically they’ve turned their lives around.
At 19 years old, Martel robbed a convenience store and shot at police. (No one was hurt.) He pleaded guilty in 1994 to armed robbery and assault with intent to do great bodily harm for which he served 14 years in prison, the majority in solitary confinement. “There was some point along there, or maybe a series of points, where I had matured enough and was slowed down enough and restrained enough, that I had to stop and think about what I’d done and the effects that I’d had on other people,” he said in a 2017 interview with the American Friends Service Committee Michigan Criminal Justice Program, during which he described a troubled adolescence. “And then it really started to click.”
Martel graduated from law school post-release. Justice Richard Bernstein, also of the Michigan Supreme Court, was not swayed. “I know what people are going to say: That he did his 14 years and served his debt to society, and I’m good with that,” Bernstein told The Detroit News. “I’m all about rehabilitation. I’m a Democrat, but I’m also intensely pro-law enforcement, and this is a slap in the face to every police officer in Michigan.”
Bernstein is entitled to his opinion. But it’s a strange position for a judge to stake out, particularly
Article from Reason.com