Thursday, February 24, 2022

Legislator enters guilty plea on multiple charges

Rep. Jewell Jones
After months of court appearances and legal wrangling, State Rep. Jewell Jones (D-Inkster) pleaded guilty in a Feb. 15 court appearance to four misdemeanors and two felony charges stemming from his arrest on April 6, 2021. 

As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, Jones pleaded guilty to charges including possession of a firearm while under the influence; operating a vehicle while intoxicated; escape of lawful custody and reckless driving. He also entered a guilty plea to two felony counts of resisting and obstructing police officers. 

He will be sentenced on all the charges on March 17 before Judge Michael Hatty of the Livingston County Circuit Court.

As Jones was 25 at the time of his arrest, prosecutors will allow him to take advantage of the Homes Youthful Trainee Act which could result in the minimum sentence of two years probation on the resisting and obstructing police charges. The act, however, does not allow for reduced sentences for traffic offenses and does not include any of the charges filed after Jones became 26, which could result in jail time. 

In addition to the guilty pleas, Jones wrote two letters, on official State House of Representatives letterhead, to Michigan State Police Troopers involved in the incident which took place on I-96 near Fowlerville. Following numerous 911 calls from motorists reporting the erratic driving of a black Chevrolet Tahoe, officers found the vehicle, registered to Jones, in a ditch at the side of the interstate. Jones and a female passenger, who was reported as “unresponsive” by EMTs at the scene,  outside the vehicle, according to police reports. Jones refused multiple times to provide identification to police and became increasingly confrontational and erratic, according to police reports. Officers used pepper spray and a Taser to subdue and arrest him at the scene. Officers subsequently observed a loaded Glock pistol in plain view on the front console of the vehicle.

Jones' blood alcohol level was recorded at 0.17 percent following his arrest, according to the police complaint, more than twice the 0.08 percent limit at which a person can be convicted of drunken driving.

He was originally allowed bail by the court but violated those provisions at least three times prompting prosecutors to file for a revocation of his bond and remand to the Livingston County Jail. During jail intake procedures, officers discovered a handcuff key taped to the bottom of Jones' foot which resulted in the charges of attempting to escape lawful custody.

He was suspended from all his duties on the Inkster Auxiliary Police and stripped of all state Legislature committee assignments as criminal charges continued to mount. 

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss two counts of resisting and obstructing a police officer, operating a motor vehicle with a high blood alcohol content, bringing a weapon into a jail, and attempted escape while waiting trial for a felony.