Attorneys Go After Judge Small's Local Sentencing Policy

Judge Kimberly Small of Bloomfield Twp makes no secret that she imposes jail sentences for first time drunk drivers. She has imposed them to otherwise law abiding individuals with a single transgression. I have seen these sentences imposed on accountants, a Friend of the Court employee, and many others. The problem is that trial counsel rarely brings a motion seeking her disqualification and there is no record to appeal. This is apparently changing. Attorneys Robert Larin and Kenneth Mogil have challenged Judge Small’s ability to sit on these cases. They claim that her open sentencing policy constitutes grounds for her disqualification. This is a very talented legal team and it will be interesting to see how it turns out. For more on this challenge, read this article on Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly’s website.

In 1972, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in
People v Snow, 194 NW2d 314 (Mich 1972), that a trial judge could not have a local sentencing policy. A great deal has changed in the intervening years. It will be interesting to see whether our appellate courts continue to follow this principle.