Skubick: Should Senator Virgil Smith be expelled?

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – State Senator Virgil Smith has been removed from his committees and relieved of his caucus responsibilities effective immediately.

This comes after he was arrested for allegedly firing 10 bullets into his ex-wife’s car.

6 News Capitol Correspondent Tim Skubick has more on how all this is playing out in the senate.

Senator Virgil Smith’s Lansing office was locked, but staffers are still taking emails.

There was no car in his parking spot in back of the Capitol.

And when they opened the voting board to take attendance Tuesday the senator was the only one who was a no show.

The senate republican leader told his colleagues not to talk with the media.

Senator Virgil Smith will likely stay away from Lansing for the rest of the week. His office does not want him to become part of a “media circus.”

But ultimately as this story plays out, someone will ask, can Senator Smith serve with this hanging over his head.

Reporter: “So the talk of expulsion at this point would be wrong?”
“Yeah. It would be wrong. It would be unfounded. We just are not at that place,” said Senator Bert Johnson (d), Highland Park.

Even if Senator Smith is convicted, because he was not acting as a public official at the time, he might not be expelled, if it comes to that.

“This was absolutely not a part of his public office. He is alleged to have shot at his ex-wife’s car and his home,” said Senator Rick Jones (r), judiciary committee.
Reporter: “So if it’s not part of a crime quote on quote as a public servant he could not be expelled from the senate?”
Senator Jones: “I think that’s up to debate, but I don’t want to pre-judge Virgil Smith.”

So while the senator grapples with his legal problems, his colleagues back here are not rushing to judgment as the attitude is wait and see what happens.

The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus made a statement on the withholding judgment of Senator Smith. “Recent events publicized in the news media have brought the character of state Senator Virgil Smith under scrutiny. The membership of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus opposes violence and understands the seriousness of these allegations. However, we would like to urge due process and equal protection in this matter as outlined in our 14th Amendment.”

The statement goes on to say “like any other individual, Senator Smith remains innocent until proven guilty.”

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