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Sunday April 20, 2014
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John Shea's Big Case



Shea says that even a serious felony trial typically lasts only a few days, or at most a couple of weeks. But he's been spending more than forty hours a week on the Kilpatrick case since September. He doesn't expect the pace to let up until it goes to the jury sometime in February.

"It has changed my life profoundly," says Shea. "Because, trust me, I do not get up at five forty-five in the morning as a general lifestyle habit of mine."


Shea's office is a second-floor walk-up on Fourth Ave. across from the courthouse. The stairs creak, the carpet needs replacing, and visitors are greeted by a small dog belonging to the receptionist he shares with two associates and four other attorneys. His administrative assistant, Monica Vogel, carries out her multitude of duties wearing her baby in a sling across her chest.

Shea grew up in Detroit and attended De La Salle Catholic High School when it was still across from Detroit City Airport. He came to Ann Arbor in 1975 as a U-M undergrad, living for the first couple of years in Couzens Hall, where I met him. It seemed that he was always either helping someone move into the dorm, blasting Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" out of his triple, or sitting on your floor late into the night, drinking a beer and waxing philosophical.

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