3 Democrats join race for Macomb County prosecutor
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of Jodi Debbrecht Switalski, a candidate for Macomb County prosecutor.
Three more candidates have filed to run for Macomb County prosecutor, hoping to permanently replace Eric Smith, who resigned after being charged with plotting to embezzle county forfeiture funds.
The candidates — all Democrats — include retired Macomb Circuit Judge Mary Chrzanowski, former Waterford District Judge Jodi Debbrecht Switalski and attorney Eva Tkacyk.
The only Republican candidate to date is State Sen. Peter Lucido, 59. The filing deadline is April 21.
Chrzanowski, 58, earned the nickname “Scary Mary” from attorneys whose clients often felt her wrath from the bench. She was elected in 1992 and served 24 years before retiring to take an appointed administrative law judge post with the federal government. She promises a no-nonsense but fair approach as prosecutor.
“Like the rest of the nation, we have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, tough economic times and now the coronavirus pandemic,” she said in a statement Tuesday. “We have also been hit by a crisis of failed leadership.
“Now is the time for the Macomb County Prosecutor’s office to have a leader invested in the welfare and safety of the people and not self-aggrandizement.”
Smith, 53, resigned last month within days of being charged with 10 offenses, including embezzlement, tampering with evidence and conspiracy in the alleged misuse of $600,000 in forfeiture asset funds taken from defendants in drug and drunken driving cases. Smith and his attorneys have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and said funds were legally spent according to forfeiture laws.
“Any prosecutor's job begins with protecting the community,” said Debbrecht Switalski, a Harrison Township resident who has a Mt. Clemens law practice. “Especially after the departure of Eric Smith, a thorough review of department practices and policies is in order with an eye toward the most efficient and just prosecutor's office. Macomb deserves no less.”
Debbrecht Switalski, 48, was appointed judge in 51st District Court in 2010 and won re-election in 2012. She was a Macomb County assistant prosecutor from 2004 to 2009.
Tkacyk, 46, of Chesterfield Township is a practicing attorney in Warren, handling primarily criminal defense work, who unsuccessfully ran for Macomb County clerk in 2018.
"... I would like to make the office more fiscally responsible," Tkacyk said. "... My vision is to create an effective, economical, flexible system to protect our communities. Tough on the serious offenders."