Jun 23, 2023 - News

Andre Spivey's early prison release

Andre Spivey during a 2019 press conference

Andre Spivey at a 2019 press conference. Photo courtesy of the city of Detroit via Flickr

Former City Council member Andre Spivey has been released from prison — 11 months into a two-year federal sentence for bribery.

Why it matters: Spivey is among numerous local politicians and public figures recently involved in misconduct and corruption cases, including his City Council colleague Gabe Leland and former UAW officials.

  • Matthew Schneider, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, says shortened federal sentences are becoming more common, raising questions about whether justice is being served for taxpayers.

What they're saying: "People should at least have some faith in what the sentence is after the judge pronounces it," Schneider tells Axios. "It's just not like that anymore."

The other side: Spivey was released from a West Virginia federal prison on June 1 and transferred to either home confinement or a halfway house, a Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesperson tells Axios.

  • The bureau does not discuss release or transfer conditions, the spokesperson says.
  • Spivey declined to comment.

Catch up quick: Spivey, 49, was elected to council in 2009, when Detroit voters ushered in a new wave of city leaders to restore integrity after former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigned in disgrace.

  • Spivey pleaded guilty in 2021 to accepting $35,900 in bribes in exchange for his political influence over city towing contracts.

🖼️ The big picture: Spivey joins other Metro Detroit corrupt public officials released early in recent years: Kilpatrick, past UAW leaders Gary Jones and Dennis Williams, Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith and others, per the Detroit News, which first reported Spivey's release.

Between the lines: Early releases from federal prison are becoming more common for a combination of reasons — the First Step Act of 2018 gives the Bureau of Prisons more power to release inmates early and judges are generally ordering shorter sentences, Schneider says.

The intrigue: Spivey probably worked a prison job to cut his time, former Troy city manager Brian Kischnick told the News.

The bottom line: Dawn Ison, the U.S. attorney in Detroit, tells Axios that the Bureau of Prisons' actions "have no effect whatsoever on the conduct of our cases."

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