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Jean Cloud named Macomb County Prosecutor

By: Kristyne E. Demske | C&G Newspapers | Published May 22, 2020

 Jean Cloud was sworn in as interim Macomb County Prosecutor May 20.

Jean Cloud was sworn in as interim Macomb County Prosecutor May 20.

Photo provided by Macomb County Circuit Court

MACOMB COUNTY — The bench of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court has named Acting Prosecutor Jean Cloud to fill the role vacated when Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith resigned at the end of March.

The office of the prosecuting attorney is up for reelection in November, so Cloud will fulfill the end of Smith’s term of office.

“It’s not every day that the Circuit bench appoints a prosecutor ... and I’m sure this is the only time it’s ever been done by Zoom,” said Judge James Biernat Jr., presiding over the meeting of the bench on a Zoom call May 20.

Cloud has worked as an assistant prosecutor in the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office since 2000, serving as chief of the Sex Crimes Unit, chief of the Auto Theft Unit and chief trial attorney over that time. She had taken over operations of the Prosecutor’s Office after Smith’s resignation pursuant to a succession plan file with the Macomb County Clerk’s Office.

Smith, 53, of Macomb Township, resigned from his position as chief law enforcement officer in the county March 30. He had been prosecutor since 2005 and worked in the office since 1993.

Smith was arraigned March 27 on charges including five counts of embezzlement by a public official and one count of conducting a criminal enterprise. Smith pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled for a probable cause hearing on the charges July 14 in front of Judge Cynthia Arvant of the 46th District Court in Southfield. Judges in Macomb County’s 41-B District Court recused themselves from the case.

Eight people had applied for the position, but one of the applicants, Tom Rombach, withdrew his name from consideration before the judges cast a vote.

Assistant Macomb County Prosecutor Steve Fox, another applicant under consideration, asked the judges to consider him so that Cloud could remain in her role in administration of the office.

“Asking her to also be the appointed attorney at the same time puts her in a very difficult position,” Fox said. “Between my experience, I believe I’ve earned the respect, and I hope to have demonstrated my integrity. (I will) make sure that everything is done in the best and transparent and most just way possible (to make sure) justice remains our priority in the office.”

Fourteen judges cast a vote for Cloud during the meeting. Judge Diane Druzinski was the lone judge to vote in favor of Fox for the position instead.

“I recognize Ms. Cloud and her current management team have done a great job in a short amount of time,” Druzinski said, but she went on to say that she believed that someone outside of the current management team should be considered for the interim role. “As the office of Prosecutor has many, many obligations, I believe that it is too onerous for one individual to do both jobs.”

Cloud did not speak during the meeting.