The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Ex-Con Hired as Law Clerk for Michigan Supreme Court Justice, Then Resigns After Controversy Arises

The law clerk robbed a store and shot at police officers, and was sentenced for that in 1994.


My inclination is to say that his being driven out of the job is a shame: His crime, serious as it was, was 30 years ago, and he has apparently had a clean record since his release from prison in 2008. I don't think his long-past behavior should disqualify him from the job.

From MLive (Matthew Miller):

Newly appointed Michigan Supreme Court Justice Kyra Harris Bolden hired a former convict as a law clerk.

Pete Martel robbed a convenience store in Genessee County nearly three decades ago and "had a bit of a shootout with the police," as he put it in a 2017 interview. He spent 14 years in prison.

He also went on to earn a law degree, found a job with the State Appellate Defender Office and enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Michigan.

But hours after The Detroit News reported on Martel's hiring and quoted Justice Richard Bernstein, a fellow Democratic nominee who campaigned with Bolden, saying he was "completely disgusted" by her decision, Martel resigned.

"I have accepted Pete Martel's resignation," Bolden said in a statement. "He did not want to be a distraction or in any way divert the Court from its important work. I respect his decision and do not intend to comment further."

I saw the 1994 date for the guilty plea at The Center Square (Scott McClallen). MLive has more from a Michigan Department of Corrections interview with Martel, which appears to be the one here:

Thanks to Howard Bashman (How Appealing) for the pointer.