MSP LT. Aaron Sweeney charged with domestic violence [Sept. 06, 2006]
Post commander enters no contest plea
Petoskey News-Review, MI
Wednesday, October 25, 2006 2:51 PM EDT http://www.petoskeynews.com/articles/2006/10/25/news/local_regional/news02.txt
The commander of the Petoskey Michigan State Police who was facing a domestic violence charge has taken advantage of a plea agreement that will likely result in no conviction being entered on his record.
Special domestic violence prosecutor Mike Findlay said F/Lt. Aaron Sweeney, 41, pleaded no contest on Oct. 11 to a charge of domestic violence stemming from a Sept. 6 incident.
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-content plea, Findlay said.
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.
Findlay 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.
Emmet County Sheriff's deputies arrested Sweeney late on Sept. 6 after officers were called a report of a domestic disturbance at a home in Little Traverse Township.
Authorities have not provided details of the incident, but said no one was injured in the incident.
Sweeney was not available before press time today, Wednesday.
State police officials earlier said they would be conducting their own internal investigation into the incident, but said such investigations typically do not begin until after the criminal portion of the case has been completed.
State Police Lieutenant Pleads No Contest To Domestic Charges
Oct 25, 2006
A Michigan State Police Trooper pleads no contest to domestic violence charges. In September First Lieutenant Aaron Sweeney of the State Police Post in Petoskey was charged with assault and battery. He has since pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charge and was put on six months probation. If Lieutenant Sweeney does not violate any terms of the probation, there will be no conviction on his record.
Post commander gets fine, probation
He pleads no contest to domestic violence
Traverse City Record Eagle, MI
BY CRAIG MCCOOL
Oct 25, 2006
PETOSKEY — A deferred sentence could mean a clean record for a Michigan State Police command officer accused of domestic violence.
Lt. Aaron Sweeney, commander of the state police post in Petoskey, was fined $500 and ordered to a term of probation with anger management sessions after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count, Emmet District Court records show.
Judge Richard May signed the order Oct. 11. If after six months Sweeney has not violated any probation terms, no conviction will be entered in the public record.
Sweeney, 41, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence after an incident with his wife at the couple's Little Traverse Township home. Prosecutors and Emmet County sheriff's officials repeatedly declined to discuss specifics about the incident.
Court records showed that special prosecutor Michael Findlay, an assistant state attorney general assigned to domestic violence cases in northern Michigan, offered the deferred status program as part of a plea agreement.
Sweeney declined comment and referred questions to his attorney, Joseph Kwiatkowski, who did not return phone calls.
The court took Sweeney's plea under advisement, Findlay said.
"The judge is kind of hanging this over his head, and as long as he does what he's supposed to, the conviction never gets entered," he said. Findlay said Sweeney did not receive special treatment.
"Any defendant, doing what he did, with no prior record and no history of assaultive behavior, would have been offered a deferred sentence," the prosecutor said. "Deferred sentences get used an awful lot with first-time offenders."
Findlay declined to discuss specifics of the incident, saying only that the victim suffered no injuries.
A conviction on Sweeney's record, now an unlikely event, could have jeopardized his career, as those convicted of domestic violence are not, under federal law, supposed to posses firearms.