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The sign on the federal courthouse in Detroit reads plain and simple: No weapons allowed.

U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ office manager broke that rule recently when security officers found a gun in her purse.

But unlike others caught doing the same thing, the Michigan Democrat’s clerk didn’t lose her job — or get criminally charged.

Conyers’ Detroit office manager Betty Petrenz, who was in court for her fiasco on May 1, got luckier. She got a ticket for having a gun on federal property and was recommended for pretrial diversion — a form of punishment that one federal magistrate recently referred to as “a gift.” It involves no fine or jail time, but essentially requires a person to have good behavior for a certain amount of time, and then the ticket gets dismissed.


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Detroit Free Press |