Ex-Wayne County prosecutor disbarred for allowing perjury

Mar 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm
Karen Plants, a former Wayne County assistant prosecutor, has been disbarred for the role she played in allowing a jury to hear perjured testimony in a 2005 cocaine trafficking case.

Plants originally had her license to practice law suspended for two years by the Attorney Discipline Board following her conviction last year in Wayne County Circuit Court on a felony charge of misconduct in office. The decision to disbar Plants, announced this week, came after the administrator of the Attorney Grievance Commission argued that the initial penalty was too lenient.

In the trial of Alexander Aceval, Plants and Judge Mary Waterstone knowingly allowed two Inkster police officers to provide false testimony to the jury. The reason for doing so, they said, was to protect the identity of a confidential informant.

Plants was sentenced to six months in jail last March after she pleaded guilty to the felony misconduct charge. The two Inkster police officers pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges.

In its written decision regarding Plants, the Attorney Discipline Board panel that heard Plant’s case noted in part:

The lack of reflection about the seriousness of the submission of false testimony that is shown by respondent’s failure to consider readily available and ethically required alternatives is disturbing.

Therefore, although this lawyer has served the system well in the past, when we consider the mitigation offered against the backdrop of the entirety of the circumstances here, it is our considered view that disbarment is not only appropriate in this case, but that anything less would seriously weaken a lawyer’s cardinal duty to the system of justice.

Waterstone, now retired, faces one felony count of misconduct. Appeals on her part have so far prevented the case from going to trial.

Last year the Metro Times produced a cover story, “Circle of lies,” that provided an in-depth look at the circumstances surrounding this case.