Thursday, October 21, 2021

Legislator’s bond request is denied by court

Rep. Jewell Jones
A Livingston County District Court Judge denied a request to reinstate the $100,000 bond of Michigan State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) who is currently facing multiple felony charges.

Jones' attorney, former Inkster Mayor Byron Nolen, asked Livingston County Circuit Judge Michael Hatty to reinstate Jones' bond during a hearing last Friday. Nolen said that Jones needed to seek outpatient treatment for alcohol abuse. The original charges against Jones were filed following his April 6 arrest on charges of drunk driving and resisting arrest. During that arrest, his blood alcohol level was 0.19, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, according to police reports. Officers claimed he was belligerent and abusive forcing them to use pepper spray to subdue him during the encounter, according to police reports of the incident. 

The court initially released Jones on bond while he was awaiting trial on those charges when the three separate instances of bond violations are alleged to have taken place. Prosecutors told the court in separate hearings that according to the alcohol and drug monitor Jones was ordered to wear, he had consumed alcohol, tampered with the alcohol monitor, failed to pay for the court-ordered monitor and misled the court about his failure to appear for mandated alcohol testing. He claimed he was attending a National Guard training exercise preventing him from appearing for the testing, while prosecutors discovered he was in Lansing for legislative votes and at a local exercise gym on the relevant dates.

Following the third alleged violation of the terms of his bond, Hatty remanded Jones to the Livingston County Jail on Sept. 14, where he has remained in custody. During initial processing at the jail, deputies discovered a handcuff key taped to the bottom of Jones' foot and he was charged with bringing a weapon into the jail and attempting to escape custody, both felonies.

“I'm not going to put this person in the position that he could cause himself other problems while he's out on bond,” Hatty said while noting he planned to move the case along “efficiently and expeditiously.

The court has merged the charges against Jones into one case, although Nolen challenges the legality of the first charges and claims deputies and state troopers mishandled the original arrest. Nolen also argues that Jones had the handcuff key taped to the bottom of his foot as a usual practice as he is an auxiliary police officer. 

Jones remains on paid leave from the state legislature while he awaits trial and has been suspended from the city auxiliary police. At the request of Nolen, Jones has undergone two mental health evaluations. 

Jones' next court date is scheduled for Nov. 4.