By Annette Christie
A Coloma Township Police Officer was conducting a stationary patrol on November 13, 2017 at approximately 3:54 a.m. when the officer observed a vehicle that had pulled into a closed gas station. The driver of the vehicle exited it and appeared to be stumbling and struggling to keep his balance.
The officer made contact with the subject and conducted a field investigation. The officer determined that the subject was under the influence of an unknown controlled substance. A Drug Recognition Expert from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the officer’s findings. The subject was transported to the hospital for a blood draw. While there, the subject admitted he had taken prescription controlled substances. The subject and driver of the vehicle, a 20-year-old Lake Wales, Florida man, was lodged at the Berrien County Jail for Operating Under the Influence of Drugs.
Van Buren County holds Sobriety Court
Thanks to the efforts of many, Van Buren County has successfully completed its first Sobriety Court hearing on October 9, 2017. Presided over by the Honorable Judge Clarke, Sobriety Court focuses on aiding Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) offenders with a diagnosed substance use disorder.
To be considered for Sobriety Court, participants must be a non-violent, OWI offender with either a misdemeanor or a felony charge. Sobriety Court is a post-conviction program, meaning that all participants must plead guilty prior to entering the program. Enrolled participants are subject to frequent and random drug testing, case management appointments, biweekly court hearings, unannounced home checks, and substance use disorder and mental health treatment.
By adding Sobriety Court to Van Buren County, they can better serve and treat OWI offenders while making the community a safer place. “I am looking forward to presiding over the Van Buren County Sobriety Court. Our efforts are to assist and provide help to those that need it, allowing them to take their lives back into their own control,” states Judge Clarke.
In the State of Michigan sobriety courts celebrate excellent recidivism rates. Only 10% of program graduates have any new conviction within four years of admission. Sobriety Court is also a cost saving effort. Incarceration costs taxpayers approximately $30,000 per person per year while sobriety court costs approximately $2,500 per person per year.
Sobriety Court came to be with the help of many county departments and individuals. Each month for the past year representatives from the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office, the Michigan Department of Corrections, the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners, the Van Buren County Defense Bar, the Van Buren Community Mental Health, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies have gathered to discuss and plan out Sobriety Court together.
Van Buren County celebrates Michigan Adoption Day
The Van Buren County Circuit Court is pleased to invite the public to attend this year’s “Giving Thanks for Families” Adoption Day celebration on Tuesday, November 21 at 10:00 a.m.
This is a special opportunity to celebrate adoption with local families and courts around the State. We are honored to have special guest, Honorable Mark T. Boonstra, Court of Appeals 3rd District, in attendance.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month and November 21 is Michigan Adoption Day. Adoptions provide a sense of belonging for children adopted by foster parents, relatives, step-parents, and for adult adoptees.
Interested citizens can join the festivities on Tuesday, November 21, 2017, with the Honorable Jeffrey Dufon presiding in Courtroom One. A brief program will begin at 10:00 a.m. that will include an adoption confirmation. Citizens should arrive by 9:30 a.m. if they wish to view the adoption ceremony. Before and after the program, music will be performed by Mattawan High School a cappella group MUSE and the Mattawan High School Master Singers, directed Mr. David Hook.
Courtroom One is on the second floor of the Van Buren County Courthouse, 212 Paw Paw Street, Paw Paw, Michigan.
In 2016 there were 12,600 children in the Michigan foster care system, with approximately 2,600 with a goal of adoption. For more information about adopting in Michigan, visit www.mare.org. Adoption and medical assistance, as well as post-adoption support, is available to make adoption an option for more families. For information about becoming a licensed foster home, contact Rachel Poole at the Van Buren County DHHS at (269) 303-6873.
Contact Veronica Stillson, (269) 657-8237, with any questions about this event.
Michigan State Police warn parents to talk about Internet Safety
In the wake of two back to back arrests of men in connection with sex crimes, the Michigan State Police (MSP) Computer Crimes Unit is encouraging parents to speak to their children about the safe use of the internet. There are many resources available to parents to assist in keeping children safe online. The NCMEC provides a comprehensive list of resources on their website at http://www.missingkids.org.
The MSP Computer Crimes Unit, Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Northeast Michigan Trafficking and Exploitation Crimes Task Force announced the arrest of Ray Matthew Moore II, 46 years of Fenton, for the manufacture and possession of child sexually abusive materials.
Moore was arrested following an investigation in which digital evidence was seized from his home. The investigation was initiated when it was learned that Moore was soliciting underage girls for nude images on the internet.
Following a forensic examination of the digital evidence, Moore was charged with the manufacture and possession of child sexually abusive materials. Moore was arraigned in United States District Court in Flint on November 6, 2017.
A Burton, Michigan man was arrested for possession of child sexually abusive materials around the same timeframe. The same team arrested Gregory Allen Mead, 46, for the possession of child sexually abusive materials.
Mead was arrested following an investigation in which digital evidence was seized from his home. The investigation was initiated when it was learned that Mead was trading child sexually abusive materials on the internet.
Following a forensic examination of the digital evidence, Mead was charged with the possession of child sexually abusive materials. Mead was arraigned in United States District Court in Flint on November 7, 2017.
If citizens have information regarding possible child sexual exploitation, they are asked to report it to the Cyber Tip Line at www.missingkids.org/cybertipline.