Matthew Abel, a lawyer since 1986, is in solo practice,
concentrating his criminal defense work in the area of marijuana defense,
including issues regarding medical marijuana and whether the controlled
substances act has any rational basis. In the Representative Assembly,
Abel successfully introduced resolutions creating a State Bar of Michigan
policy supporting public financing of judicial elections, and mandating
that the bar hold a public forum for Michigan Supreme Court candidates
each campaign season. Abel unsuccessfully advanced a proposal to remove
the assignment of counsel authority from judges. Abel sits on the Green
Party of Michigan State Central Committee and also on the Green Party
of the U.S. National Committee. He is active in the Lawyer’s Guild,
ACLU, and NORML. Last year, he successfully defended an anti-Bush war
protester who was arrested for exercising first amendment rights. This
year, Greater Flint ACLU recognized him as a Civil Libertarian of the
W. Anthony Jenkins
Mr. Jenkins is a two-term incumbent member of the Board
of Commissioners, and serves on the Executive and Finance Committees.
He is a past president of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association,
a member of the State Bar Fellows Society, and Michigan’s State
Delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. Mr. Jenkins serves or has served
on several civic and charitable boards, including the Detroit Medical
Center, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the City of Detroit Elected Officials
Compensation Commission, and the City of Detroit Board of Police Commissioners.
Mr. Jenkins is a partner at Dickinson Wright PLLC, where he serves on
the Board of Governors and represents clients in the automotive, real
estate, and retail industries, and writes and lectures on the formation
and capitalization of joint ventures, particularly minority business
enterprises. Mr. Jenkins holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard
University, a Masters of Public Affairs from Princeton University, and
a Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law. He is licensed
to practice in Michigan and the District of Columbia.
Incumbent: Eligible for 17 meetings (from 9/12/2003
through 4/7/2006); attended 16 and excused 1.
Stephen M. Taratuta has been practicing law since 1991.
He worked while still in law school at the University of Detroit in
the Urban Law Clinic. He received the William O. Douglas Award for his
work in the clinic. Upon graduation and passage of the bar exam, he
went into private practice as a solo practitioner. The primary focus
of his practice was criminal litigation, with a minor emphasis in construction
law representing home owners and businesses against wayward contractors.
In the spring of 2004, Mr. Taratuta joined the Wayne County Prosecutor’s
Office as a senior trial attorney. He is currently assigned to the Homicide
unit. Mr. Taratuta has been a member of the Representative Assembly
for eight years. He is also an active member of the Criminal Jury Instructions
Committee. Besides his commitments with the State Bar, he remains active
in local bar activities. He is an immediate past member of the Board
of Directors for the Government Bar Association and currently sits on
the by-laws committee. When not “working,” Mr. Taratuta
spends time with his wife, Jody, and his daughter, Brittany. He helps
out at his daughter’s high school as the Quartermaster for the
Shrine High School’s Dad’s Club.