Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Client Acquitted of Kidnapping – Receives No Jail Time
Grand Rapids, Michigan – This past July, Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law criminal defense lawyer, Michael Bartish obtained a not guilty verdict in a very bizarre kidnapping case in the 17th Circuit Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The bizarre nature of the case attracted a great deal of attention in the Grand Rapids Press, which devoted almost a weeks worth of coverage to it. Our client was charged with kidnapping-child enticement (child under the age of 10), resisting and obstructing an officer, and possession of marijuana. The kidnapping-child enticement charge was particularly concerning as it carried a maximum sentence of life. Furthermore, a conviction for this offense would also result in lifetime placement on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry List despite the fact that there was no allegation of any sort of sexual misconduct.
From the onset of this matter, it was clear to us that this case had been overcharged. The allegations, even if true, simply did not support the charge of kidnapping – child enticement. It was also evident that this case was going to go to trial since the prosecuting attorney’s office was not willing to allow our client to plead to anything less than a false imprisonment which we felt very strongly also did not apply to this case. Following a week long trial in July, our client was found not guilty of kidnapping – child enticement charge, the most serious offense. Although convicted of the misdemeanor offenses of resisting and obstructing and possession of marijuana, she and her family were allowed to return home to await sentencing on those relatively minor offenses.
Readers of mlive.com reacted to the verdict with a lot of skepticism. Many questioned how a woman who took a child off of a school bus without the permission of the parents could be acquitted of kidnapping. The reaction of the mlive.com readers was understandable as they did not have a complete picture of the what a happened on that occasion. Fortunately, during the four days of trial, we were able to provide a jury with the complete picture and were able to explain our client’s actions and how those actions proved that our client had no intent to kidnap any child.
Obtaining a “not guilty” verdict is difficult. It requires a great deal of hard work not only from the criminal attorney handing the case, but also from firm staff. Our criminal defense team, led by attorney Michael Bartish, were able to present the complete picture to the jury only because our deep experience and knowledge of Michigan criminal law allowed us to clearly present a proper defense for every fact in this case. We took the time to personally interview nearly all of the witnesses who had information related to this case and personally visited the crucial locations. Michigan Police reports often contain summaries of witness interviews or crime scenes. However these summaries are often influenced by the police officer or detective’s own bias about what facts are important when seeking criminal charges. Consequently, witness and crime scene summaries are often incomplete and leave out crucial details that may make the difference between a guilty and not guilty verdict. Visiting the locations crucial to the case and personally interviewing the witnesses provided us with a much different picture than the picture depicted in the police reports. Ultimately, the jury in this case agreed.
Last week, our client was sentenced on the misdemeanor offenses of resisting and obstructing an officer and possession of marijuana. She received no jail time. She was sentenced to fines, costs and a brief term of probation and allowed to return home.
If you or someone you love is facing serious criminal charges in West Michigan, contact the Grand Rapids criminal defense firm of Springstead Bartish & Borgula Law, PLLC and allow our experienced criminal defense lawyers to help you through this difficult time. With offices in Grand Rapids and Fremont we serve all of West Michigan including Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Marquette.