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NOLAN FINLEY

Editor’s Note: Bad lawyer will stay on sideline

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

In a small but savory blow for justice, the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board ruled it will not reinstate the law license of the attorney whose shoddy representation helped send an innocent man to prison for nine years.

Bob Slameka had asked the board to return him to the bar, from which he was expelled last year for 180 days after attempting to break into his girlfriend’s house.

Slameka was the lawyer for Davontae Sanford, the Detroit man who was served nine years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit and was freed this summer thanks to Herculean efforts by his legal advocates. Details of the case show the obviously innocent Sanford was pushed through the legal system in the interest of expediency, not justice.

The discipline board had a number of criticisms of Slameka, including that he has a “loosey-goosey relationship with the truth;” has a shoddy system for accounting for client funds; operates his “office” out of the lobby of a Detroit casino; forged his dead mother’s signature on dividend checks; tried to assign a string of traffic tickets to his wife, who died before they were written, and on and on.

In short, the board ruled Slameka does not “have the right stuff” to be an attorney. That’s sort of obvious, given his 16 citations for legal and ethical missteps in the past.

Still, two Wayne County Circuit judges, Richard M. Skutt and James R. Chylinski, served as character witnesses for Slameka, assuring the board they’d hire him to represent their own family members.

Makes you wonder what they have against their relatives.