DETROIT (AP) – The final felony misconduct charge has been dismissed against a retired Detroit area judge accused of neglecting her duties by allowing perjured testimony during a 2005 drug trial.
In an order released Wednesday, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the state law used to prosecute Mary Waterstone could not be “invoked as a basis to try and convict” her.
However, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office could try to charge Waterstone under a misdemeanor statute, defense attorney Gerald Evelyn told The Associated Press. The ruling also could be appealed or the case could be dropped.
Evelyn said Waterstone is relieved and pleased by the Appeals Court ruling.
“She is hopeful she’ll get a good night’s sleep for the first time in three years,” Evelyn said. “We hope that this ends a long ordeal.”
Three other charges were dismissed last year by a lower court.
“We are reviewing the opinion and will make a decision on which action to take at a later time,” said John Sellek, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Schuette.
Then state-Attorney General Mike Cox charged Waterstone and assistant Wayne County prosecutor Karen Plants in 2009.
Plants was accused of allowing Inkster police officers to lie about their relationship with a paid informant during the 2005 drug trial of Alexander Aceval in Wayne County Circuit Court. She told Waterstone that lies were necessary to protect the identity of the informant, who was a trial witness, according to a report from a state investigator.
Waterstone argued that she allowed the testimony to protect the informant’s safety.
Aceval wanted his drug conviction on cocaine trafficking overturned because Waterstone and Plants allowed the officers to lie during his first trial. Michigan’s Supreme Court in 2010 declined to hear Aceval’s appeal.
Aceval’s first trial ended in a hung jury. He pleaded guilty during a second trial.
Plants pleaded guilty just over a year ago to misconduct in office and was sentenced to six months in jail.
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