Monday, July 30, 2007

Deputy Jeffrey Stromer - Sentenced - Houghton SD

Deputy Jeffrey Stromer at his sentencing hearing (Stromer is pictured on the right). In a plea agreement, Deputy Stromer was able to have the three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against him dropped, in exchange for him pleading no-contest to a domestic violence charge.

Instead of life in prison, on the three first-degree CSC charges, Deputy Stromer only received 6-24 months of probation for aggravated domestic violence.

Stromer was allowed to return to work at the Houghton County Sheriff Department - working in the county jail, following his conviction.

Under MCL 769.4a [Michigan's loophole to the  Lautenberg Gun Ban Amendment], Stromer pleaded no contest to the DV charge - and the three charges of CSC were dropped. Stromer was placed on probation.... 

After Deputy Jeffrey Stromer completed his probation, Sheriff Brian McLean rehired Stromer at the Houghton County Sheriff Department.

Sheriff McLean's reasoning behind rehiring a man who had been charged with THREE counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct?

"He [Deputy Jeffrey Stromer] tried to change his life around," he said. "We gave him an opportunity to work ..." Sheriff’s candidates talk drugs, jail - 10012016 - The Daily Mining Gazette

Where was Sheriff McLean's obligation to the safety and concern of  Stromer's victim ... The Houghton County Community ... And Houghton County Sheriff Department staff?

Has Sheriff McLean underestimated the public's voice on Officer Involved Domestic Violence -- as the Southgate Police Department did, earlier this year? 

Sheriff’s candidates talk drugs, jail
October 1, 2016
By Garrett Neese (
The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Questions about drugs and the Houghton County Jail dominated the sheriff portion of Thursday's Copper Country League of Women Voters forum for candidates in contested countywide seats.

Republican Sheriff Brian McLean, who has held the post since 1996, is running for re-election against Democratic challenger Derek Poyhonen, who has been a corrections officer with the county for the past 15 years.

McLean said his biggest priority for the next term would be reducing the drug problem, which he said has become "a tidal wave." After law enforcement and the medical community clamped down on opiates, illegal drugs, particularly heroin, rushed in to fill the void.

"When we start to see people losing their lives because of this terrible addiction, that is one of our biggest looming problems right now," he said.

Poyhonen said he would like to address the area's drug problem through educating local children. Reducing drugs could also reduce violent crime and help ease the strain on the jail, he said.

"I would like to get into schools, 2 through 6, build a relationship with the kids, get a junior deputy program going," he said. "That will carry on in the upper grades. That is where I would like to get into drug and alcohol awareness. It might not pay off right away, but it will pay off in the long run."

Poyhonen said his other main goal was returning "integrity, accountability and transparency" to the sheriff's department. He pointed to the department's rehiring of Jeffrey Stromer, a former deputy who was convicted of a misdemeanor domestic assault charge against his ex-wife after first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges were dropped.

"I will never question my opponent's heart," Poyhonen said. "I will never question his compassion for the voters. But mistakes are being made within the department."

McLean said Stromer had been rehired after his sentence and probation was completed.

"He tried to change his life around," he said. "We gave him an opportunity to work at a time where a couple of our corrections officers left their job early and we needed some immediate help. He worked for a couple months and then resigned."

McLean said he had worked closely with community groups and maintained an open-door policy, something which Poyhonen said he would also follow.

McLean keeps him home number listed in the phone book, though he said he doesn't get many work calls at home.

"People will call at the office, stop by, come in," he said. "They want to see sometime, hear about something, we're always very accountable."

The most audience questions came on the subject of the aging jail. Voters most recently voted down a proposal for a combined jail, sheriff's department and district court in 2010.

Poyhonen said he would like to see a bigger police presence for higher-profile cases, particularly in district court. With the jail, he said, the county needs to respect the voters' judgment.

"We're overcrowded," he said. "It's a juggling act every day, and we did it today. We're not going to get a new one. It's a dead issue. So we have to find an alternative way to work with what we have."

McLean said the county has the fewest beds of any in the Upper Peninsula. However, he said, they've been able to work with the courts and prosecutor's office to keep some offenders out of jail through means such as community service sentences.

"We always have to ask ourselves: Who do you want in jail? Do you want people in jail that you're just temporarily mad at, or do you want people in jail that you're afraid of?" he said.

Both candidates feared the potential for a lawsuit against the county. McLean brought up Genesee County, where a federal judge decreed the county's jail didn't have enough room, leaving the county to foot the bill for a new jail.

Four jail studies have been done since 1985, McLean said. The public is past the first hurdle of recognizing the problem, he said, but haven't settled on a solution.

"For years people were saying, 'There's nothing wrong with the old jail, it's good enough,'" he said. "Now, I think the majority of people have said 'There is a problem there, and something needs to be done. I just don't know what that is.'"

In the meantime, Poyhonen said, some fixes need to be put in place. He called for what he said would be a "simple fix" to part of the recreation area where a prisoner escaped 10 years ago that has yet to be addressed.

As a corrections officer, he said, the back of the jail staff has been frustrated with the remodeling in the front offices, including a new kitchen put in this year. He acknowledged the obstacles in doing so - namely, a Department of Corrections requirement that changing any part of the secure area requires bringing the jail up to code.

"If we start tearing into it, we've got to redo the whole thing, but we've got to watch where we're spending our money," he said.

McLean said the corrections officers have the worst jobs of the staff, working "essentially out of what is a broom closet." But bringing the entire jail up to code will cost millions of dollars, he said.

"We constantly work with the board, with the citizens' group, educating, hoping to come across with the legislators - we're looking for money," he said.

Former Sheriff's Deputy Gets Probation
WLUC TV6-  Houghton
August 2, 2007

A former deputy with the Houghton County Sheriff's Department on Monday was sentenced to 6-24 months of probation for aggravated domestic assault.

Forty-six-year-old Jeffery Stromer was arrested in May for domestic and sexual assault and was convicted of a misdemeanor last month.

Three felony charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain. Stromer also lost his job at the Sheriff's Department.

"I'm sure you'll never see him in this courtroom again," said his attorney, Frank Stupak. "And I'm sure he will prove to his family and to this community that justice for him is a term of probation with a delayed sentence.

"Special Judge Tim Brennan handed down the sentence of probation instead of jail time.

Deputy takes plea bargain in sex case
Daily Mining Gazette, MI
Friday, June 22, 2007

HOUGHTON — A Houghton County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested by a detective from the Michigan State Police Calumet Post in May on a domestic violence charge and three charges of first degree criminal sexual assault pleaded no contest to the domestic violence charge Thursday in 97th District Court in Houghton.

Jeffery Stromer, 46, of Laurium, made the plea to Baraga County Probate Judge Timothy Brennan, who was presiding in place of Houghton District Court Judge Phillip Kukkonen to avoid any conflict of interest since Stromer is a Houghton County deputy.

Baraga County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph O’Leary, who also presided to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, said a plea agreement had been reached with Stromer and his attorney, Frank Stupak. With the plea, the three charges of criminal sexual conduct were dropped.

“I have also agreed that I will not oppose a delay of sentence,” O’Leary said.

Brennan then asked Stromer if he understood that the domestic violence charge means without intent to commit murder or great bodily harm. He said he may not delay sentence in which case Stromer would not be able to withdraw his plea.

Brennan asked Stromer, also, if he understood that a no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt, but is treated as such for the purposes of sentencing. Stromer said he understood all the points.

Brennan said he wanted a pre-sentencing investigation of the case, and will try to get an investigator from outside the Houghton County area. He set 3 p.m. Aug. 2 for the sentencing of Stromer and continued the $25,000 cash bond, which was posted.

A condition of the bond is that Stromer can’t have in-person contact with the victim.

O’Leary said the maximum penalty for the domestic violence charge is one year in jail and/or $1,000.

Local deputy placed on leave
Charged with sex crime
Daily Mining Gazette, MI - 9 hours ago
May 30, 2007

HOUGHTON — A Houghton County Sheriff’s Department deputy arrested on first-degree criminal sexual conduct and domestic violence charges has been put on administrative leave, sheriff’s department Capt. Marjorie Chandonais said Tuesday.

Jeffrey A. Stromer, 46, was arrested by Michigan State Police troopers Saturday, following an investigation into a domestic violence complaint. MSP Det. Sgt. Tom Rajala said the investigation was prompted by a complaint from the alleged victim.

Rajala would not release the alleged victim’s relationship to Stromer, citing a need for privacy.

First-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony punishable by up to life in prison. Stromer was arraigned on Sunday with a cash bond set at $25,000.

Sheriff’s department Sgt. Chuck Cadwell said Stromer posted bail and was released.

A preliminary examination is scheduled for June 11 in 97th District Court.Investigative assistance in the case was provided by the Laurium Police Department, the Houghton County Sheriff Department, and a detective from the Michigan State Police post in Negaunee Township.

When asked this morning by the Gazette for a copy of Stromer’s mug shot, Chandonais declined to release it, because the suspect had been booked in Baraga County.

A Baraga County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman declined to release the photo, as the sheriff was not present.


No comments: