Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Probation Officer's Lawsuit
October 11, 2021
By Jon King / firstname.lastname@example.org
While portions of a lawsuit filed against a former prosecutor, former assistant prosecutor and a detective have been dismissed, the main elements of the case can proceed to trial.
That was the ruling from a federal judge in the suit that was filed last year by Shalimar Howard, a Michigan Department of Corrections probation officer who was charged with perjury before the charges were dismissed in 2019.
Howard claims former Livingston County Prosecutor William Vailliencourt and former Assistant Prosecutor Mike Taylor “misused their discretion” to prevent her from voicing opposition to what she called the “discriminatory practice” by the Livingston County Prosecutor's Office in its treatment of probationers. She alleges that Vailliencourt, Taylor and MSP Detective Craig Carberry conspired to falsely charge her with perjury resulting in a false arrest and an unwarranted prosecution.
A September 29th ruling by U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson determined that while a Fourteenth Amendment claim against Carberry and Fourth Amendment claims against Vailliencourt and Taylor are invalid and will be dismissed, he ruled that there were “sufficient facts to support the remaining claims against the defendants” that would overcome any assertion of governmental immunity.
In making the ruling, Judge Lawson denied the remaining motions by the defendants to dismiss the lawsuit. The perjury charges resulted from testimony Howard gave in March of 2017 about an individual on probation in which her recommendation conflicted with that from the prosecutor’s office. The hearing was presided over by then-Livingston County Judge Theresa Brennan. Brennan was later removed from the bench and pleaded guilty to perjury in a separate case, for which she served six months in jail. Howard claims that Vailliencourt and Taylor “undertook a secretive investigation” that resulted in a “sham” criminal complaint.
Vailliencourt, who is no longer the county’s prosecutor, said at the time that the lawsuit was without merit, pointing to the finding by a district court judge that there was probable cause to support the perjury charges, which were then bound over to circuit court for trial. Those charges were later dismissed.
Howard is seeking damages in excess of $75,000.