Friday, April 17, 2009

Commissioner James Vaughn - Sentenced - Kent County

Also See:
Kent County Commissioner James Vaughn charged with domestic violence [June 17, 2008] http://michiganoidv.blogspot.com/2008/06/kent-county-commissioner-james-vaughn.html



Commissioner Vaughn was found guilty of aggravated assault and domestic violence [March 2009 trial]. Vaughn was sentenced to 30 days in jail; ordered to pay $2,388 in fines; ordered to pay Ida Cross's medical expenses; ordered to submit to domestic violence counseling and drug testing; ordered to one year probation; and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
Judge Jeannie LaVille refused to allow Vaughn to post bail and ordered him to begin his jail sentence immedidately. "The court finds his attitude and lack of acceptance of responsibility is a serious aggravating factor in this sentence," Judge LaVille said. [April 2009 setencing hearing]







Commissioner Vaughn released from jail
Spent 3 weeks behind bars for assault
Updated: Monday, 11 May 2009, 4:13 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 11 May 2009, 4:13 PM EDT
http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/kent_county/Commissioner_Vaughn_released_from_jail





GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Kent County commissioner James Vaughn is out of jail, about three weeks into a 30-day sentence for assault.

Vaughn was sent to jail after being convicted of beating Ida Cross, who wanted to back out of a three-way tryst with Vaughn and another woman.

Vaughn still will be on probation for one year, must perform 100 hours of community service and must pay $2,300 in restitution.










Kent County Commissioner James Vaughn taken to jail straight from court to begin 30-day sentence
Published: Friday, April 17, 2009, 2:17 PM
Updated: Friday, April 17, 2009, 8:05 PM
The Grand Rapids Press
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2009/04/kent_county_commissioner_james_5.html




Kent County Commissioner James Vaughn, right, was sentenced by Judge Jeanine LaVille in Grand Rapids District Court on Friday afternoon. Vaughn was convicted on misdemeanor charges of assault and domestic violence charges against victim Ida Mae Cross. Vaughn was taken to the Kent County Jail from the courtroom after being sentenced to 30 days behind bars. [Lance Wynn. The Grand Rapids Press]




Kent County Commissioner James Vaughn was taken to the Kent County Jail straight from court today after being sentenced to 30 days behind bars for an assault case that included graphic details about three-way sex.

Vaughn's girlfriend at the time, Cassandra Mitchell, 39, was also sent straight to jail to serve a 30-day sentence, with credit for one day served.

Grand Rapids District Judge Jeanine LaVille declined to allow Vaughn, 66, to post bail while he considers an appeal. She also declined to allow Mitchell time to make arrangements for her children.

After sentencing, Vaughn attempted to reach for his hat, but a deputy began taking him away to jail and a family member grabbed it to give it to an officer.

LaVille said even though Vaughn has no prior criminal history, his lack of remorse after an assault conviction contributed to her decision to have him begin his sentenced immediately.

"The court finds his attitude and lack of acceptance of responsibility is a serious aggravating factor in this sentence," LaVille said.

Vaughn told the judge "this whole incident didn't play out right."

"I respect the court's decision," he said, then added. "It's hard for me to swallow this, because it's not truth, and it's not fair, and a lot of it is fabricated."

The judge also said he must pay $2,388 in fines, and make joint payments with Mitchell to Cross to cover her medical expenses. She also said Vaughn must submit to domestic violence counseling, serve a year of probation, submit to drug testing, and perform 100 hours of community service.

Vaughn, a Grand Rapids Democrat who was re-elected to his county post in November, was convicted of aggravated assault, a misdemeanor, for an attack on Ida Mae Cross, 47, a woman he had dated for years. The incident happened after a proposed three-way sexual rendezvous at his Southeast Side home in June 2008 turned sour.

The charge carried a penalty of up to a year in jail.

Mitchell was found guilty of a lesser charge, assault and battery.

Cross spoke before Vaughn's sentencing and asked for both to be given the maximum penalty. She declined to make a statement before Mitchell was sentenced.

"The wounds James Vaughn and Cassandra Mitchell inflicted upon me continue to haunt me," said Cross, saying she suffers from flashbacks and depression, and lost her job.

LaVille said Mitchell's prior convictions, and prison and jail time contributed to her decision to the send her to jail immediately.

"You do not come to this court with a clean slate," LaVille said. "Both (prior convictions) reflect an inability to control your temper and conform to the law."

Mitchell was also ordered to pay $545 in fines and joint-restitution to Cross.
Before her sentencing, Mitchell told LaVille she was sorry for her part in the matter, but said she was provoked.

"I would have seriously been harmed," Mitchell said. "I was thinking of my children all along."

Cross and friends and family of Vaughn declined to comment after the sentencing.
Reached after the sentencing, Kent County Corporate Counsel Dan Ophoff said there was no action the County Commission could take to remove Vaughn from office.

"The research suggests that the governor might have some ability here, but I don't even think it triggers at this point because it's generally for a felony, as opposed to a misdemeanor," he said.

Ophoff said all the of the county commissioners are "of a mind this is an unfortunate incident."

Kent County Commissioner Brandon Dillon, a Grand Rapids Democrat, said the commission doesn't have any authority to do anything.

"I can't speak for everybody, but I certainly respect the decision of both the jury and judge," Dillon said. "Ultimately, Jim is going to have to be accountable to the people who elected him."











Kent County Commissioner James Vaughn found guilty of assault charges
Published: Thursday, March 05, 2009, 11:30 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 05, 2009, 6:24 PM
By John Agar
The Grant Rapid Press
http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2009/03/kent_county_commissioner_james_2.html




Kent County Commissioner James Vaughn talks to his attorney Charles Chamberlain after he was found guilty today of aggravated assault and domestic violence in a case that involved two girlfriends. Jon M. Brouwer. The Grand Rapids Press




Update, 11:35 a.m.
Kent County Commissioner James Vaughn said he will appeal.
"We'll be appealing tomorrow," he said after the verdict. He said there are "people in jail for nothing. I see why."
He said he will continue in his post as county commissioner. "This was a misunderstanding, and the misunderstanding is still going to be cleared up."
Vaughn's lawyer said he respects the jury's verdict but is disappointed with it.

GRAND RAPIDS -- Kent County Commissioner James Vaughn was found guilty today of aggravated assault and domestic violence in a case that involved two girlfriends.

The jury verdict came in just before 11:30 a.m. The assault is a one-year misdemeanor, and the second charge a 93-day misdemeanor.

One of the women, Cassandra Mitchell, 39, who was tried with Vaughn before separate juries, was convicted Wednesday of a lesser charge, assault and battery, in the alleged attack on Ida Mae Cross, 47.

The trouble started after a proposition for three-way sex between Vaughn and Cross, his long-time girlfriend, and Mitchell, whom he met in September, testimony showed.

Vaughn, 66, was charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence in the mid-June fight at his home. Vaughn contended he was only trying to break up a fight between the two women.

The six-man jury deliberated for an hour Wednesday and almost three hours today.

Defense attorneys contended that Cross was just as culpable in the dispute as anyone else.

The lurid details elicited in trial testimony devastated those involved in the case.
Cross, in her testimony, said: "I'm a lady, not a whore."

The three provided conflicting statements during testimony, with Cross blaming the defendants for attacking her, and Mitchell blaming Cross.

They had met at Vaughn's home late on June 16 after he and Cross attended a family gathering after his brother died.

Cross said Vaughn propositioned her about a three-way sexual encounter, while witnesses at the family gathering said she sounded OK with it, and talked loudly about going to Vaughn's home for the tryst.

Vaughn testified that trouble"(Cross) popped Ms. Mitchell in the head. Then, it was on," Vaughn testified.

"After Ms. Mitchell got popped, she started swinging. They were swinging, and I was in between them. ... I just broke up a fight."

Assistant Ionia County Prosecutor Aubri Sheremet told jurors Vaughn was no peacemaker.

She prosecuted the case so that there was no appearance of conflict of interest with Vaughn serving as a county commissioner.

Defense attorney Charles "Chip" Chamberlain attacked the credibility of the alleged victim, and said she would not have stayed at his home three hours after the fight if she feared Vaughn.


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