MSP LT. Aaron Sweeney charged with domestic violence [Sept. 06, 2006]
Police post commander demoted, transferred
Petoskey News-Review, MI
By Steve Zucker News-Review staff writer
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 11:54 AM EST
Michigan State Police officials have demoted and re-assigned the former commander of the Petoskey post following an internal investigation into domestic violence allegations against the officer.
State police public affairs officials said on Dec. 19 Aaron Sweeney, 41, was given a one-grade demotion from first lieutenant to lieutenant and re-assigned to a position as a trainer with the agency's fire investigation unit in Gaylord.
The disciplinary action follows a department investigation into an incident that took place at Sweeney's residence on Sept. 6.
Following the incident, Emmet County sheriff's deputies arrested Sweeney on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence.
On Oct. 11, Sweeney pleaded no-contest to the charge. A no-contest plea is like a guilty plea in that the person is held responsible for the crime and a conviction is entered in the record. Such pleas are only allowed in cases where the defendant either cannot remember the circumstances surrounding the crime because of intoxication or that the case could have possible civil implications. In Sweeney's case, his pending divorce from the victim in the case was the basis for the no-contest plea.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Sweeney was given a deferred sentence. That means that if he successfully completes the six months of probation - which includes paying several hundred dollars in fines and costs and participating in counseling - the conviction will be removed from Sweeney's record.
At the time of the sentence, the prosecutor involved in the case said such deferred sentences are very common in domestic violence cases such as Sweeney's where a defendant has no prior convictions. He said Sweeney was not given special treatment because of his position and said the plea was offered after consultation with the victim in the case.
The commander of the Cheboygan post, F/Lt. Kenneth Holm, is serving as the interim commander of the Petoskey post until a replacement for Sweeney is named. Sweeney, a 20-year veteran of the department, had been the Petoskey post commander since August of 2000. He has previously worked in the department's fire marshal division.