Big Changes in Big Rapids: New 77th District Court Judge, 49th Circuit Court Judge, and Prosecutor
In January of 2015, just a month away, the 77th District Court in Big Rapids, Michigan will have a new Judge. Longtime 77th District Court Judge, Susan Grant, is retiring at the end of 2014, and the current elected Prosecutor, Peter Jaklevic, will take her place. Jaklevic’s Chief Assistant, Brian Thiede, will presumably be appointed to fill the vacancy in the elected Prosecutor’s office. While many may expect this to mean more deference to prosecutor’s positions in District Court, we will have to wait and see what sort of Judge Jaklevic will be. A position on the bench offers a different perspective on the criminal justice system and, as Judge, Mr. Jaklevic will have to consider, perhaps more than ever before, the defendant’s arguments and legal positions. Hopefully, he will continue the good work of Judge Grant in Mecosta County’s sobriety court.
Meanwhile, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brian Thiede is expected to assume the role as Prosecutor in Mecosta County. He has been Chief Assistant for some time and should offer a measure of stability to the Prosecutor’s Office. I do not expect any big changes in policy or the way cases are handled, though the hiring of a new Assistant Prosecutor introduces a measure of uncertainty into the handling of misdemeanor cases, which traditionally are handled by the least senior assistants. While this may seem insignificant, it could be a big deal for students at Ferris State University, who are regularly the subject the of MIP’s, DUI’s, and possession of marijuana charges. Stay tuned.
Last, but not least, the 49th Circuit Court will be getting a new Judge following the retirement of Judge Ronald Nichols. The Judge elect, Kimberly C. Booher, comes from private practice, where she did some criminal defense work. Again, we will have to wait and see what sort of Judge Ms. Booher will become.