Kwame Kilpatrick Asks For His Conviction to Be Thrown Out

Kwame Kilpatrick news

What was Kwame Kilpatrick convicted of?

How many years of prison was Kwame Kilpatrick sentenced to?

It was over a year ago when former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Armed with a new defense lawyer, Kilpatrick has filed an appeal with the hopes have having his conviction thrown out.

In my article, The Kwame Kilpatrick Saga Ends With Lengthy Conviction Sentence, I covered that Kilpatrick was convicted of taking bribes, steering contacts to his friend Bobby Ferguson and adding family and friends to the city’s payroll.

This week Kilpatrick’s appellate lawyer, Harold Gurewitz, was in the court room making the case for Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick did not attend.

The Argument

It is not new news to hear that Kilpatrick was unhappy with his lawyer, James Thomas. According to the Detroit Free Press, at the start of his trial Kilpatrick was requesting a different lawyer, saying that he didn’t trust Thomas anymore.

U.S District Judge Nancy Edmunds denied that request at the time because,

“Thomas, who represented Kilpatrick during the text message scandal, also asked Edmunds to withdraw from the case. Edmunds, though, denied the request, noting that when Kilpatrick ran out of money and couldn’t afford a lawyer, he requested Thomas — and he got him. The taxpayers picked up that tab. Edmunds also found that Thomas had been a good and effective lawyer for Kilpatrick.”
-The Detroit Free Press

The argument for the appeal is this Kilpatrick’s trial lawyer (Thomas) created a “serious adverse conflict”.

It turns out that James Thomas had some connection to the law firm that had a civil suit against Kilpatrick for the same crimes he was defending him against. This according to Gurewitz, has violated Kilpatrick’s right to a conflict-free lawyer.

The question remains, is the connection strong enough? It was also reported that two of the three judges hearing the appeal agreed that the connection appeared to violate Michigan courts rule, however, it was a federal case. Gurewitz will have to show the conflict affected Thomas’s performance as a lawyer.

  • It is also being argued that Thomas did not question the government’s star witness enough. The star witness is Derrick Miller who worked directly Kilpatrick.
  • In addition, it is being argued that the U.S District Judge Nancy Edmunds allowed two agents to offer their opinions in front of the jurors. Their opinions related what text messages meant and how these text messages and phone calls related to some of the crooked contracts Kilpatrick has been accused of.


According to the Detroit News, the judges have not given a timetable for their ruling. If their rule if favor of Kilpatrick, there will be a new trial.

What do you think? Will Kilpatrick’s arguments hold? Will there be another trial? Or will the judges uphold the original conviction?

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Are you looking to file your own appeal? Start with my article, Claim of Appeal in Michigan – How to Determine If You Can File or if you would like help, please call my office at:

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000