January 4, 1988 : Basil Brown Resigns from Michigan Senate

January 4, 2023 all-day

Basil Brown, an African American Democrat from Highland Park and senior member of the Michigan State Senate, pleaded guilty before the Ingham County Circuit Court on December 1, 1987 to one charge of delivering cocaine and one of delivering marijuana to a prostitute at his residence in Lansing.   He had numerous drunken driving convictions on his record previously.  According to the Michigan Legislative Biography Database, the drug conviction was later overturned by the Supreme Court on the basis of issues of entrapment.   However, due to pressure from colleagues in the Michigan Senate,  he announced his resignation effective on January 4, 1988.

Brown served in the legislature for more than 30 years before resigning from the Senate in 1988  He was the 1st African American chair of the Judiciary Committee and served in this powerful position for over ten years.  He also served as the Democratic Majority Floor Leader.

Known as the “Dean of the Michigan Senate” he was the longest serving senator as of 1/1/1988.  He received 3 decorations for his services in US Navy during World War II.

Emily Lawler, “Death, Drugs, and Skullduggery: A Brief History of Michigan Political Scandals“, MLive, August 21, 2015; updated August 24, 2015.

Michigan State Senator Guilty in Drug Case“, New York Times, December 1, 1987.

Jack Torry, “Career of Michigan Sen. Basil Brown Dissolves in Alcohol, Drug Charges“, Toledo Blade, December 5, 1987.

Michigan Legislative Biography Database.

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