2015-08-19 / Police Beat

Konschuh case on hold while Supreme Court reviews record

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER COUNTY — The case against Judge Byron Konschuh, on hold since April, has been sent to the state’s Supreme Court. A decision could take six months or more.

Stuart G. Friedman, one of Konschuh’s attorneys, filed a 69-page appeal July 10.

A Supreme Court spokesman said that exceeded the court’s 50-page limit for appeals, but the court agreed to accept it. He said the justices took receipt of the trial court record Aug. 4 and the appeals court record Aug. 12.

“The complete record needs to be reviewed, and that typically takes six to seven months on average,” he said. After that, the high court “could act simply on the written record or they could schedule oral argument.”

Konschuh’s legal team headed to the Supreme Court after a three-judge Appeals Court panel rejected a motion to reconsider its earlier refusal to rule on what constitutes public money.

Konschuh was placed on paid leave July 22, 2014, four days after being charged with five counts of embezzlement by a public official of more than $50 following a six-month Michigan State Police investigation. He’s been on paid leave since.

If convicted of the felony charges, the judge could be facing a 10-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. Conviction would also result in the loss of his law license.

Prosecutors say that while Konschuh was Lapeer County’s prosecuting attorney between 2009 and 2013, he deposited 41 checks made out to the Lapeer County Prosecutors Office in personal checking accounts.

An additional check, prosecutors say, was signed over to a former assistant prosecutor, who cashed it at a Lapeer nightspot.

In all, checks totaling $1,802 issued either by BounceBack, a bad check recovery program, or the Law Enforcement Officers Regional Training Commission (LEORTC) ended up in Konschuh controlled accounts, not the county’s coffers, prosecutors say.

Mike Sharkey, Konschuh’s lead attorney has steadfastly insisted that the money in question was not public money, so no crime was committed.

He has also maintained that Konschuh used the money for snacks and other items for his staff and not for his personal benefit.

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