Court rips judge for sending man to prison for not paying

Posted at 1:55 PM, Mar 15, 2017

The Michigan appeals court is criticizing an Oakland County judge for sending a 70-year-old man to prison after he insisted he was too poor to make consistent payments to a crime victim.

In a 2-1 decision, the court said Judge Martha Anderson failed a key step: She yanked Ghazi Marji's probation and sent him to prison in 2015 without trying to confirm that he was truthful about his weak finances. Marji, a former trucker, was 70 at the time.

The appeals court says the prosecutor and probation department never presented firm facts about Marji's assets. Judge Elizabeth Gleicher says prosecutors need more than "smoke and mirrors" to lock up someone.

Marji had paid $8,000 toward $23,000 owed to an assault victim. He spent a year in prison.