Appeals judge probed after man turns in gun at airport

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Romulus — A Michigan Court of Appeals judge is under investigation, prosecutors said Thursday, after a man matching his description was found with a firearm in his carry-on baggage at Detroit Metro Airport.

“We have a warrant request and the matter is under investigation, other than that we have no comment,” said spokeswoman Maria Miller, when asked about reports Judge Henry William Saad was stopped Sunday at Metro.

Mike Conway, a spokesman for Metro Airport, said he could not confirm the identity of a 68-year-old Bloomfield Township man who was questioned about 8:30 a.m. Sunday after a firearm, a .357 Smith & Wesson, was found by TSA scanners.

Saad is 68 and a Bloomfield Township resident. He could not be reached for comment.

John Nevin, a spokesman for the Michigan Supreme Court whose State Court Administrators Office oversees the state’s judges, had no comment.

The man “said he thought he had taken it (gun) out of the bag,” said Conway, who described him as “very polite and cooperative” with officers.

Airport officers determined the man had a license to carry a concealed pistol, but firearms are never permitted to be carried by passengers onto an aircraft.

“It is legal to obtain an application and pack an unloaded weapon which is turned over and placed in storage with other luggage during a flight — that is done all the time,” Conway said. “But passengers can never carry one on a plane or have it somewhere they or someone else might access it.”

After questioning the man and obtaining copies of documents for the weapon, it was seized pending further investigation. The man was permitted to continue on his flight to Fort Myers, Conway said.

“It is at an officer’s discretion whether a person is to be held or released so there was nothing unusual about that,” he said.

The prosecutor’s office will refer a warrant request to determine what, if any laws, were broken, Conway said. There are state aeronautics laws banning the carrying of a firearm on board a plane and there is also an airport ordinance against the same. Both offenses are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both.

According to the Michigan Court of Appeals website, Saad’s term expires in January 2021. He was appointed in 1994, was elected for a six-year term in 1996, and re-elected in 2002, 2008 and 2014.

Prior to joining the bench, Saad was a partner at Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen and Freeman, where he practiced law for 20 years. Saad received his bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University School of Business with honors and his law degree from WSU, where he graduated magna cum laude.

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