Former Detroit city council member Monica Conyers has slim hopes of successfully appealing her 37-month prison term, experts tell the Detroit News. An angry Conyers, wife of U.S. House Judiciary Commitee chairman John Conyers (D-MI), surprised U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn yesterday by announcing she wanted to withdraw her guilty plea on bribery charges and unleashed a loud courtroom tirade against federal prosecutors and the news media. “I’m just not going to jail for something I didn’t do,” she said.
Conyers has signed a document saying she “waives any right to appeal her conviction or sentence” if her sentence is under five years. Conyers is the only Detroit elected official convicted so far in a long-running corruption investigation that has netted 10 guilty pleas. Kenneth Mogill, an attorney who teaches criminal procedure at Wayne State University, said it’s almost unheard of for a defendant to attempt to withdraw a guilty plea on the day of sentencing with no advance notice. Courts allow defendants to withdraw guilty pleas if evidence emerges or if a decision was made in haste and promptly reconsidered. Under Conyers’ circumstances, in which more than eight months elapsed between her plea and sentencing, Mogill said “it’s next to impossible to get it withdrawn.”