Judge on 12-time drunken driving offender: ‘It’s crazy’


SUE:..HIS 12TH DRUNK DRIVING ARREST–AND THIS TIME, A BARRY COUNTY DISTRICT JUDGE IS DRAWING THE LINE… SPEAKING OUT ABOUT THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM’S PROBLEM IN SENTENCING REPEAT DRUNK DRIVERS.BRIAN:..IT’S A STORY ALL NEW AT 6–24 HOUR NEWS 8’S SARAH HURWITZ HAS BEEN FOLLOWING THIS CASE–AND SARAH, SOUNDS LIKE HE REALLY THREW THE BOOK AT HIM. 3 SARAH:..CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE MICHAEL SCHIPPER SET 50- YEAR-OLD ALAN PRICHARD’S BOND AT 200 THOUSAND DOLLARS YESTERDAY–BECAUSE HE SIMPLY HAS NO TOLERANCE FOR THE CRIME… ESPECIALLY WHEN PRICHARD IS NO STRANGER TO THE COURT SYSTEM… HE SAYS THAT’S WHERE THE PROBLEM LIES — THE MINIMUM PUNISHMENT FOR DRUNK DRIVING ISN’T HARSH ENOUGH… 3 HIS RECORD DATES BACK TO 1988 ACROSS SEVERAL COUNTIES IN WEST MICHIGAN.FROM DRIVING WITH A SUSPENDED LICENSE, DRUG CHARGES, ASSAULT AND BATTERY… AND NOW 12 DRUNK DRIVING OFFENSES… 3BARRY COUNTY CIRCUIT JUDGE MICHAEL SCHIPPER SAYS THAT’S ONE OF THE REASONS HE SET 50-YEAR-OLD ALAN PRICHARD’S BOND SO HIGH BECAUSE HE SAYS HE’S A REAL DANGER TO 3 THE COMMUNITY AND NEEDS TO BE IN JAIL… 3BUT THE PROBLEM HE SAYS LIES IN HOW HIGH OF A PRIORITY THE STATE CONSIDERS DRUNK DRIVING OFFENSES… RIGHT NOW PROSECUTORS CAN DECIDE WHETHER TO CHARGE A DEFENDANT AS A REPEAT OFFENDER… THAT MEANS THAT A DRUNK DRIVING OFFENDER COULD SEE A SENTENCE AS LOW AS 30 DAYS TO AS HIGH AS FIVE YEARS… IN PRICHARD’S — THREE SEPATE TIMES HE WAS CHARGED WITH A FELONY BUT ALLOWED TO PLEAD DOWN TO MISDEMEANOR WHICH KEPT HIM OUT OF PRISON… 3WE RAN INTO BILL JAMESON OUTSIDE THE COURTHOUSE WHO AFTER HEARING ABOUT OUR STORY — WAS ADAMANT ABOUT HOW HE FELT… 3

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