Thursday, August 15, 2002

Officer Timothy Hibbard - Samuel M. Thomas convicted for dragging Officer Hibbard w/vehicle

Also See:

Officer Timothy Hibbard - Jackson PD - A family in crisis...
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2014/01/officer-timothy-hibbard-jackson-pd.html

Officer Timothy Hibbard - Self-defense shooting of murderer Marshan Worthey [ August 08, 2008]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2008/08/officer-timothy-hibbard-self-defense.html

Officer Timothy Hibbard - Gerald Landrum charged w/attempted murder of Hibbard. [April 17, 2004]
http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2004/04/officer-timothy-hibbard-gerald-landrum.html




Samuel M. Thomas had only 9 months left on parole for his 1999 breaking and entering conviction, when he was pulled over for a traffic stop on August 15, 2002 by Officer Timothy Hibbard. 

Thomas had no driver's license, vehicle registration, or proof of insurance.
During the traffic stop, Thomas attempted to drive off. He dragged Officer Hibbard with his vehicle several yards, at speeds up to 40 mph. At one point, Timothy attempted to 'scrape' Hibbard's body off his vehicle by driving up against a tree.

Officer Hibbard suffered a broken neck in the assault.

Thomas later stated that he had been on parole at the time, he did not want to go back to jail, and that he did not care what he did to try to get away.

At trial, Thomas made the following comment about the injury he caused to Officer Hibbard: "I was fleeing and eluding to keep from going to jail. He put his self in danger." 

Thomas was convicted of resisting arrest causing serious injury to Officer Timothy Hibbard and sentenced in December 2002, to 20 - 40 years in prison.

Thomas spent the first five years of his incarceration attempting to have his conviction overturned. 
















Appeal rejected for man who dragged cop
Jackson Citizen Patriot (MI) 
Wednesday, August 22, 2007 

Retired Circuit Judge Alexander Perlos was not known for exceeding sentencing guidelines. 

But he unloaded on Samuel M. Thomas for dragging a Jackson police officer through the street in 2002. He sent Thomas to prison for 20 to 40 years, well above the recommended four to 16 years. 

Every judge since has sided with Perlos, including a federal judge who denied Thomas' appeal on Tuesday. 

Thomas, 41, exhausted his appeals in state courts two years ago. 

Thomas was convicted of resisting arrest causing serious injury to Officer Timothy Hibbard. 

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Hibbard suffered a "serious impairment of bodily function" in the Aug. 15, 2002, incident, and that the sentence was fair given the circumstances. The state Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal. 

Testimony indicated Hibbard's arm was wedged in the car door as Thomas drove 80 yards down the street at 40 mph. Thomas had violated parole and attempted to flee when Hibbard pulled him over in a traffic stop. 

Hibbard returned to the force after six weeks and was injured again two years later in a scuffle with a drunken suspect who attempted to choke him. 
















Appeals fail to overturn two convictions
Jackson Citizen Patriot (MI)
Sunday, May 1, 2005

He dragged a Jackson cop through the streets, breaking his neck. 

She embezzled $1.5 million from the Jackson office of AAA of Michigan.
Both got what was coming to them, Michigan's high courts ruled this week in rejecting appeals by Samuel M. Thomas and Nancy L. Romano. 

Thomas was convicted of resisting arrest causing serious injury to Officer Timothy Hibbard. 

Circuit Judge Alexander Perlos, now retired, exceeded guidelines with a sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison. The recommended minimum range was four to 16 years. 

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in July that Hibbard suffered a "serious impairment of bodily function" in the Aug. 15, 2002, incident, and that the sentence was fair given the circumstances. 
Hibbard was back on the job after six weeks. 

The Supreme Court denied hearing the appeal, which means Thomas essentially has hit a brick wall with little chance of an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Jerrold Schrotenboer, chief appellate attorney for Jackson County. 

Prosecutors alleged Thomas, 39, dragged Hibbard wedged in his car door for 80 yards down the street at 40 mph. Thomas had violated parole and attempted to flee when Hibbard pulled him over in a traffic stop. 

Romano, 58, is in the second year of a 5- to 14-year prison sentence for embezzlement. She was sentenced in February 2004 after pleading guilty to charges of embezzling, uttering and publishing and forgery. 

Like Perlos, Circuit Judge Charles Nelson exceeded guidelines because he said they did not accurately reflect the magnitude of the crime. Romano, a 36-year employee of AAA, used her position as a claims adjuster to bilk the company out of $1.5 million over several years. 

Investigators said she "piggy-backed" legitimate claims checks with identical forged checks that she stole. 

She allegedly spent the money on cars, mortgages, home repairs, credit debt, trips, taxes and perks for her family. 

Officials believe she stashed a big chunk of the cash, which she denies. 

Probation officials recommended a sentence of five to 23 months. 

The Michigan Court of Appeals declined to hear Romano's appeal. 

She can appeal to the state Supreme Court. 

Judges have discretion in going under or over sentencing guidelines if their stated reasons are compelling. 
















April 26, 2005

Michigan Supreme Court denied Gerald Thomas' appeal of his conviction for his assault on Officer Timothy Hibbard.


















Court upholds judge's sentence
Jackson Citizen Patriot (MI)
Friday, July 16, 2004

A man who dragged a Jackson police officer with his car, breaking his neck, was justly convicted and sentenced fairly by a judge who exceeded guidelines, the state Court of Appeals ruled. 

Samuel M. Thomas did cause "serious impairment of body function" to Officer Timothy Hibbard in an Aug. 15, 2002, traffic stop that turned violent, the higher court concluded. 

Further, Circuit Judge Alexander Perlos did not abuse his discretion in sentencing Thomas to 20 to 40 years for resisting arrest causing serious injury to an officer. The recommended minimum range was about four to 16 years. At sentencing, Perlos called Thomas a "bad actor" with no sign of improving. 

Thomas, 38, was sentenced as a habitual offender. He blamed Hibbard's injuries on the officer, saying it was Hibbard's choice to jump in his car to attempt to stop him. Police said Thomas knew he had violated parole and fled with no regard to the officer's safety. 

Hibbard was dragged 80 yards at up to 40 mph, injuring his leg and neck. He missed two and a half months of work initially. 

A Jackson officer for six years, Hibbard recently was involved in a scuffle with a parolee who was accused of trying to choke him. 

In the appeal, Thomas argued there was no "serious impairment of a body function," and that Perlos did not have a compelling reason to exceed sentencing guidelines. The appeals court rejected both arguments. 

"The officer lost the use of that limb (left leg) almost completely for several weeks while he was on crutches and, to a more limited extent, during the several months that he was unable to return to work," the court stated. 

And, while there was no immediate nerve damage causing paralysis, "the treating physician testified there was a fifty-fifty possibility that future problems could develop as a result of the broken vertebral bone." 

The ruling, now case law, clarifies the "serious impairment" category to include a leg injury that is more long-lasting than seemingly more serious injuries. The court cited a head wound rendering someone comatose for three days with no lasting impact. 

Regarding the stiff sentence, Perlos got it right, the appeals court said. The points system in sentencing guidelines did not take into account Thomas's "complete disregard for the officer's life," nor his 34 misconduct citations in a previous prison sentence, the ruling stated. 

















July 13, 2004

Michigan Court of Appeals denied Samuel M. Thomas' appeal of his conviction for assault of Officer Timothy Hibbard.





















Incident draws stiff sentence
Jackson Citizen Patriot (MI)
Thursday, December 12, 2002

A Jackson man will spend 20 to 40 years in prison for dragging a city police officer and breaking the officer's neck in what began as a routine traffic stop. 

Samuel Thomas, 36, was sentenced Wednesday by Circuit Judge Alexander Perlos to a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 40 years for the Aug. 15 incident in which Officer Timothy Hibbard was dragged about 80 yards at speeds of up to 40 mph. 

Thomas, a habitual offender, was convicted Nov. 6 of resisting and obstructing an officer causing serious injury. 

"I'm just glad it worked out and he won't be around to hurt society anymore," said Hibbard, who was off work until November. 

"I'm very satisfied with the sentence," Chief Assistant Prosecutor David Lady said. "It's above the guidelines and reflects the seriousness of the offense and the danger he put Officer Hibbard in." 
Perlos called the act deliberate and intentional. 

"You're just a bad actor," Perlos told Thomas before the sentence. 

"There's no question about that and you've been one for a long time and you're not getting any better." 

Thomas has been in prison since he was arrested later Aug. 15 in Detroit on a parole violation. He had been paroled in 1999 after serving eight years in prison for breaking and entering. 

Hibbard said he stopped Thomas about 12:45 a.m. because his headlights weren't on. Thomas gave him a false name and said he had no license or identification. 

When Thomas started the truck and began to move, Hibbard stuck his arm in and wedged his body in Thomas' lap before he was dragged. 

Thomas' attorney, Paul Adams, maintained his client was simply trying to avoid a night in jail. Perlos disagreed. 

Thomas said he was sorry the officer was hurt, but said it was Hibbard's choice to jump into the vehicle.
















December 11, 2002

Samuel M. Thomas was sentenced to 20 - 40 years in prison for his August 2002 assault on Officer Timothy Hibbard.



















Man convicted in cop dragging
Jackson Citizen Patriot (MI)
Thursday, November 7, 2002

Parolee could face life in prison after being found guilty in the incident in which an officer suffered a broken neck. 

A new state law protecting police officers was written for people like Samuel Thomas, local police and prosecutors say. 

Thomas, 36, was the first man in Jackson County charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer causing serious injuries, and also was the first found guilty of the law enacted July 15. 

Circuit Judge Alexander Perlos convicted Thomas on Wednesday after hearing six prosecution witnesses and Thomas, who blamed Officer Timothy Hibbard for injuries the officer sustained Aug. 15 after a routine traffic stop. 

"I was fleeing and eluding to keep from going to jail," Thomas testified. "He put his self in danger." 

Defense attorney Paul Adams, too, questioned why Hibbard reached into Thomas' Chevrolet S-10 pickup in an attempt to turn off the ignition on Adrian Street. 

"I can't imagine getting into a vehicle that is attempting to flee and elude," Adams said in his summation in the bench trial. 

Perlos didn't buy Thomas' explanation, saying he thought it interesting Thomas would blame the incident on Hibbard. 

"The officer should be commended because that was his duty," Perlos remarked. It is his job to nab fleeing subjects, and reaching in a vehicle for the ignition was Hibbard's discretion, Perlos said. 

While resisting and obstructing is a felony that carries a five-year prison sentence, adding serious injury boosts the maximum sentence by 10 years. Because Thomas is a habitual offender, he could be sentenced to life in prison on Dec. 11, Chief Assistant Prosecutor David Lady said. 

Thomas has been in prison since he was arrested later in the day on Aug. 15 in Detroit on a parole violation. He had served eight years in prison and was paroled in 1999. 

Hibbard said he stopped Thomas about 12:45 a.m. because his headlights were not on. Thomas gave him a false name and said he had no license or identification. 

When Thomas started the truck and began to move, Hibbard stuck his arm in and wedged his body in Thomas' lap. 

"The next thing I remember is being pulled away. My arm was stuck in the steering wheel," Hibbard said. "I told him to stop and he wouldn't. At one point I was no longer worried about arresting him. I just wanted him to stop." 

Officers Steven Scarpino and Andrew Flint testified Hibbard was dragged or carried up to 245 feet. Hibbard said he thought Thomas was driving 30 to 40 mph and trying to shuck him off against a tree. 

At some point, Hibbard fell out of the truck and rolled across the street against a curb. His head and neck were in serious pain and he couldn't move, he said. 

"Not only had he broken his neck, but we thought he broke his left leg," Hibbard's family physician, Dr. Timothy Kval, testified. Doctors eventually learned the leg was sprained and the seventh cervical vertebrae was fractured. 

Although "severely risky," the doctor said, the injury did not cause nerve damage. Hibbard underwent therapy after four days in the hospital, returned to light duty in October and full duty this week. 

Detective Timothy Gonzalez, the chief investigator, encountered Thomas at the Wayne County Jail shortly after his arrest. He was initially "aggressive and rude," Gonzalez said, but eventually confessed. 

"Without any questioning, he said he was sorry, that he didn't mean to hurt the officer," Gonzalez testified. 

At the same time, the detective said, Thomas blamed the incident on Hibbard for trying to stop him. 

"He did not care what he did to get away," Gonzalez said. "He was determined not to go to jail." 
















1999 - 

Samuel M. Thomas paroled on breaking and entering conviction.
He had been paroled in 1999 after serving eight years in prison for breaking and entering. 

















July 24, 1998

Samuel Thomas filed appeal against Parole Board.


















October 24, 1991 - 

Samuel Thomas sentenced to 3 - 22 years for breaking and entering conviction.

















October 06, 1990 - 

Samuel Thomas charged with breaking and entering.