John A. Smietanka

Attorney and Counselor

E-mail contact: [email protected]

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John Smietanka has been active in the law and government of Michigan, Illinois, and the United States for more than 35 years.

John focuses his practice in these areas:

  • Criminal Defense—trials and appeals;
  • Federal and State Litigation;
  • Civil Rights;
  • Constitutional Issues;
  • Election Campaigns;
  • Complex Business and Commercial Litigation;
  • Government Agencies and Programs; and
  • State, Local and Municipal Government Issues.

John's career in private practice came on the heels of his successful work over 25 years in public law as a county prosecuting attorney, a United States Attorney, and a senior official in the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C.

Since entering private practice in 1995, John has used his grasp of the law and the state and federal justice systems—as well as his political and media skills—to success-
fully handle a myriad of legal matters (Private Practice).

John's experience includes government legal positions in which he either supervised prosecutions or directly prosecuted numerous criminal and civil cases.  His highest-ranking post was as the Principal Associate Deputy attorney general in 1990-1992 at the U.S. Justice Department in Washington (Deputy AG).

On the political side, John has been active in politics and was nominated twice by the state Republican Party for the elected position of Michigan Attorney General (Politics). 

John was appointed in 1981 by former President Ronald Reagan as the United States Attorney for Western Michigan in Grand Rapids, and he served in the post continuously until 1994 under former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton (U.S. Attorney).

In 1992 and 1993, John accepted additional duties as the acting United States Attorney for Northern Illinois in Chicago and supervised the successful prosecution of the leadership of the notorious El Rukn street gang (Acting U.S. Attorney Chicago).

After working in 1970 as a county assistant prosecutor, John was appointed by the Berrien County Circuit Court as Prosecuting Attorney in 1974, and he won election in 1976 and re-election in 1980.  John's litigation skills were formed in these positions because he spent many hours in court arguing cases before juries and judges (Berrien County).

John was the principal attorney in several representative cases, including Souter v. Jones (2005, Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals) and Michigan v. Payne (1973, U.S. Supreme Court).  He has taught legal classes and seminars in the United States and Europe (Teaching) and authored Child Sexual Abuse (published in the Michigan Bar Journal, 1988).

John has participated in numerous professional and civic groups and projects.  He has received honors and awards, including his nomination by former President George H.W. Bush to be a judge of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Professional Groups and Honors).  He holds bar admissions in Michigan and Illinois, and in several federal courts (Bar).  John received his law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1968 (Education).  He lives in southwest Michigan.

Grand Rapids Area Office                                         Southwest Michigan Area Office
 4250 Chicago Dr., S.W., Suite B                                 4265 Niles Road
 Grandville, MI 49418                                                  St. Joseph, MI 49085
 Telephone: 616.667.2217                                          Telephone: 269.428.3447
 Fax: 616.667.2285                                                     Fax: 269.428.3448
                         General e-mail: [email protected]

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Copyright © 2011 by John Smietanka, Anne Buckleitner, Katie Steffes and Tom Gezon.

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