Judge in Davontae Sanford hearings bars testimony from hit man’s former lawyer


, Detroit Crime Examiner

In a conference in Wayne Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan’s chambers Thursday, the judge informed Kim McGinnis, Davontae Sanford’s lawyer, that he would not allow testimony from Gabi Silver, former attorney for imprisoned hit man Vincent Smothers, about conversations Silver had with Smothers about the killing of four people in a dope house on Runyon St.
The ruling is a setback for McGinnis, who wants the judge to set aside Sanford’s guilty plea to the four murders and award him a new trial. McGinnis contends that the guilty plea was based on a bogus confession Sanford made merely to please the police officers. Sanford is developmentally disabled, and was only 14 at the time of the confession.
Self-professed hit man Vincent Smothers was twice that age when he told police and others that he had done the Runyon St murders. He is now in prison for eight other contract killings

Smothers is not willing to testify in the Sanford hearings, but has waived the attorney-client privilege as to conversations he had with his former attorney, and is willing to allow Gabi Silver to testify before Judge Sullivan. Smothers undoubtedly told Silver he had killed the four on Runyon street and that Sanford had no part in it.
Though there may no longer be a prosecutor on Kym Worthy’s staff who actually believes Sanford killed those four people, they are fighting McGinnis’ efforts at every turn. They had opposed Silver’s testifying and should be pleased at Judge Sullivan’s ruling. McGinnis is not and plans to appeal it.
Because the judge’s order is not a final judgment, McGinnis will have to petition the Court of Appeals for leave (permission) to appeal. Meanwhile, proceedings in Judge Sullivan’s court will continue, unless someone gets an order staying proceedings.


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