On November 4, 2020, the people of Shiawassee County, Michigan, will decide who will be their prosecuting attorney for the next four years. The election pits incumbent Scott Koerner against defense attorney Robert Hinojosa. With Shiawassee County playing such a vital role in Michigan news of late, the prosecutorial race has become on the most discussed elections in recent years. Topics such as the candidates’ history, the level of crime in the community, and the issue of preliminary examinations have taken center stage in Corunna. The history of both candidates has become a water cooler talk both in Shiawassee and surrounding communities. Today we will look at both candidates and their history in the legal profession.
Scott Koerner is the incumbent, and before joining the Shiawassee County Prosecutor’s Office, he was known as one of the most successful criminal defense attorneys in the state. Koerner has tried numerous jury trials, including two that gained national attention where children in the Shiawassee community were victims. Koerner serves on the services on the board of Voices for Children Child Advocacy Center and plays a vital role in both the Shiawassee County Mental Health and Drug Courts.
Robert Hinojosa worked for the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office after serving in the Shiawassee office. After his time as a prosecutor, Hinojosa opened a criminal defense practice with his office in Flint, Michigan. He practices in Shiawassee and Genesee County and is known in the Shiawassee community.
To gain further insight into this election, we spoke with three lawyers that practice in Shiawassee County. The lawyers are from the firm “McManus and Amadeo” and training in several different fields in Corunna, Michigan, and across our state and the federal court
Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan. McManus is known as one of the top business lawyers in the state of Michigan and also consults with clients on real estate investments. When asked about the election, McManus stated, “A lot of our clients are looking to invest in Owosso and Corunna. This is a new phenonium, and I attribute a lot of that to Scott Koerner. Since Judge Matthew Stewart appointed Koerner, it seems that the Shiawassee community has moved in a positive direction, and people are thinking twice about coming into Corunna and committing crimes. I know that Bill (Amadeo) also had some negative experiences with the Lapeer Prosecutor’s Office. On CSC cases, that office would force children to testify at preliminary examinations. Bill always told them if we have to go to trial, that is fine, but there is no reason to make a child testify twice. Mr. Hinojosa was part of the Lapeer office that did this. I also know that Koerner helped Bill on the Bobby Reyes case and is a strong believer in “Right to Life” issues. I don’t think there is any question that Scott Koerner is the right man for the job.”
Jennifer Kelley is a Senior Associate for McManus and Amadeo and has become known as one of the top family law attorneys in our state. When asked about the election, Kelley provided commentary. “I often am dealing with custody issues in Shiawassee. I’ve gotten to know Scott Koerner, and I will say that even if we are on other sides of the issue, he always places the needs of children first. He seems like a good person. I have not had any experience with Mr. Hinojosa to pass commentary, but I have a lot of respect for Mr. Koerner.”
William Amadeo is a partner at McManus and Amadeo and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates. Amadeo is known as one of the top criminal lawyers in the state of Michigan and gave insight into the election. Amadeo said, “I’ve worked with both Scott Koerner and Robert Hinojosa. Scott was one of the best criminal lawyers in the state before becoming a prosecutor, and he always sees both sides of an issue. While we do not always agree on a case when Scott and Adam (Masserang) bring a charge, they believe it is in the community’s best interest. Judge Matthew Stewart appointed Scott Koerner because he was the best man for the job. I remember how difficult it was fighting for Bobby Reyes, and Scott took time out of his schedule to help that child due to his “Right to Life” beliefs. If a lawyer wants a deal and does not want to work for their client, I would vote for Hinojosa. If somebody wants children and the elderly protected in the Shiawassee Community, I would vote for Scott Koerner. Feel free to quote me.”
With an election less than three months away, Shiawassee County voters have a lot to think about. Whoever wins the prosecutorial race will help shape the criminal justice system for the next four years.