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Former police commander due in court

November 28, 2012
By JASON RAICHE - For The Daily News , The Daily News

GLADSTONE - A former Michigan State Police post commander in Gladstone, arrested this summer on a drunken driving charge, will be back in court Friday, according to court officials.

Sgt. William H. Smith, 43, was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated on July 7 after crashing a personal vehicle in Chippewa County. According to test results, Smith's blood alcohol content at the time of the accident was .13 compared to the drunk driving standard of .08.

The 93-day misdemeanor charge was originally dismissed in Chippewa County District Court in August because the search warrant used to obtain further evidence, including a blood test, was invalid.

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Cheboygan County prosecutor Daryl Vizina, assigned to represent the state in the case at the time, previously said dispatch directed police to obtain the search warrant from a former Chippewa County court employee no longer serving as magistrate.

The employee had been relieved of her duties due to mental health issues.

Because the former court employee was not legally authorized to execute the search warrant, any information police obtained under the document during the investigation could not be considered as evidence.

The case has since been assigned to Alger County Prosecuting Attorney Karen Bahrman. Bahrman noted though the case was dismissed, Smith was never tried. This is not a case of double jeopardy.

"Jeopardy doesn't attach until the jury is sworn," said Bahrman. Cases dismissed prior to that time are able to be recharged.

Smith will be arraigned Friday at 12 p.m. in Chippewa County District Court for operating while intoxicated.

Following Smith's arrest in July, he was on paid leave pending the internal investigation of the case. After the investigation was complete, he was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant and transferred to the Lansing Post. Smith was also suspended 15 days without pay.

Smith had served as Gladstone Post commander since April 1.



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