After many years on the bench Michigan 48th District Court Judge Kimberly Small has earned a reputation as among the toughest on drunk driving. Many laud her approach to sentencing, as is evident from this comment from the web site Courthouse Forum “Judge Small was tough, but absolutely correct. Drinking and driving is unacceptable. I appreciate her determination to enforce accountability. If she saves even one life, it’s worth whatever punishment she decrees. Thank you Judge Small.”
Others have a different opinion of Judge Small’s sentencing practices, which often include lengthy periods of incarceration for even first time offenders. Many believe that sentences imposing long period of incarceration are disproportionate to the crime charged. And so, nearly every defense attorney appearing before the judge for sentencing comes prepared to urge the court not to incarcerate their client. Such arguments are rarely successful, and so the Judge’s reputation persists. So much so that simply mentioning the name of Judge Small to a person accused of drunk driving is often enough cause them a high level of anxiety.
Judge Small is also the subject of a lawsuit recently filed claiming that she unlawfully incarcerates youngster’s who violation their probation for the charge of Minor in Possession (MIP). It is because of this reputation that today’s Free Press article has garnered so much interest.
It is unfortunate that this private family matter has received so much publicity largely due to Judge Small’s high profile relative to alcohol related crimes. While Judge Small’s comment that “I guess it (my daughter’s arrest for MIP) shows that no family is immune,” is true, the Judge’s high profile has contributed to the fact that this otherwise innocuous arrest has actually become published news. One can hope that this news article will be end of it, and that Judge Small’s family can focus their efforts on the best interests of their daughter.