Many people within the criminal justice system know that police and prosecutors in Michigan have a history of overcharging suspects when they allegedly engage in criminal behavior. One reason behind this system is that if someone is facing extremely strict or outrageous criminal charges, police and prosecutors have more room to negotiate down with a suspect's criminal defense attorney until they come to an acceptable plea bargain. Unfortunately, this privilege only extends to those who understand how the Michigan criminal justice system works and those who have enough money to hire a competent lawyer.
One man was fortunate to find an experienced attorney who was able to bring his criminal charges down. The man accepted a domestic violence plea bargain after initially being charged with unlawful imprisonment, first-degree home invasion and aggravated domestic violence. After negotiating with prosecutors, he only had to plead guilty to domestic violence and malicious destruction of property less than $200.
The incident took place on May 30 when the 20-year-old man went to his 22-year-old former girlfriend's home. Zeeland police have said that the man broke into the apartment before taking her from the home to his parked car. A short time later, the woman was found in another part of town without any kind of serious injury.
The man has yet to be sentenced, but will report back to court on July 31.
Though this man was fortunate that he had an attorney that could fight to have his charges lowered, those who are struggling in poverty may not be able to get such important criminal defense, which is inherently unfair.
Source: The Grand Rapids Press, "Man who snatched ex-girlfriend pleads guilty to domestic violence," Greg Chandler, June 28, 2012