In Michigan
6:02 am
Thu September 3, 2009

County Prosecutor says Secretary of State is not the gatekeeper

LANSING, MI – A case before the state Court of Appeals asks the question whether the Secretary of State has the final word in handling elections violations.

The Secretary of State's office fined Meijer Incorporated 190 thousand dollars for manipulating elections in Grand Traverse County. County prosecutors said a fine did not go far enough and Meijer should face criminal charges as well. But a judge ruled last year the Secretary of State had the final authority and had handled the issue.

Alan Schneider is the prosecuting attorney appealing that decision. He says criminal proceedings are not covered by the Secretary of State.

"I do not believe it was ever the intent of the Legislature to make the Secretary of State the gatekeeper of criminal prosecutions. That would be unheard of in this state," Schneider says.

Lawyers representing Meijer say if the Secretary of State thinks there needs to be a criminal trial she has the power to refer the case to Michigan's Attorney General.