Former county prosecutor sentencing adjourned to 2022

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published November 17, 2021

 Sentencing is now set for Jan. 13 in the federal case against ex-Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith. Earlier this month, a motion was filed on behalf of Smith to adjourn the sentencing.

Sentencing is now set for Jan. 13 in the federal case against ex-Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith. Earlier this month, a motion was filed on behalf of Smith to adjourn the sentencing.

File photo by Alex Szwarc

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MACOMB COUNTY — Counsel for a former Macomb County prosecutor argue that if sentencing is not delayed, it will cause prejudice by forcing them to choose which criminal case deserves their focused attention.

On Nov. 2, a motion was filed on behalf of Eric Smith to adjourn federal sentencing. In September, his sentencing was set for Nov. 16 before District Judge Linda Parker. Now, Smith’s attorney, John Dakmak, asked for sentencing to be no sooner than Jan. 3.

On Nov. 5, the court granted Smith’s motion to adjourn sentencing.

In January, Smith pled guilty to one felony count of obstruction of justice.

The motion filed by the defense states that Smith, of Macomb Township, and the government both sought to have the sentencing occur in an in-person setting.

“Throughout the pendency of this case, Mr. Smith has been contesting the allegations contained in the Michigan Department of Attorney General’s ten-count complaint filed on or about March 24, 2020,” it states.

Among other charges, the state alleges that Smith was the head of a criminal enterprise composed of other individuals and the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.

In the state case, Smith appeared in Macomb County’s 41-B District Court in Clinton Township Oct. 21. The next court date in that case is Dec. 10 for a preliminary examination.

Dakmak writes that Smith seeks an adjournment of the Nov. 16 sentencing for the same reason sought in his previous requests for adjournment: to be sentenced after the conclusion of the preliminary examination in the state case.

On Nov. 2, Dakmak said the United States Attorney’s Office advised counsel for Smith that concurrence would not be given.

The following day, the U.S. Attorney’s Office responded to Smith’s motion to adjourn sentencing. In the reply, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Moran writes that, in Smith’s motion, he fails to establish a reason to justify his request.

“Nor does he show that if his request is denied that we would be prejudiced in any way,” Moran writes. “The government asks the court to deny the motion to adjourn.”

Also on Nov. 3, Dakmak filed a reply to the government’s response to Smith’s motion to adjourn sentencing.

He concludes that Smith agrees that a showing of prejudice by a defendant will warrant a sentencing adjournment.

“In opposing his reasonable request to adjourn the sentencing hearing, the government’s position will now cause manifest prejudice to Mr. Smith by forcing him and his counsel to choose between dedicating their attention to the sentencing hearing or the continuation of the preliminary examination in the state case,” Dakmak writes.

He adds that if the federal sentencing is adjourned, Smith can not only properly defend himself in the state case, but it would also allow him to meaningfully participate in his sentencing hearing.

The federal sentencing is now set for Jan. 13.

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