Thursday, February 23, 2012

Judge David Stowe - Wife Cynthia - DV probation

After Cynthia's assault on her son and husband [January 30, 2012], a year was added to her DUI probation. A stipulation that Cynthia not consume alcohol was added to the conditions of her probation after her DV arrest.

February 23, 2012: Cynthia was arrested after she violated her DUI / DV probation  by testing positive for alcohol consumption on two separate breath tests in February.

Judge's wife released from jail

February 25, 2012
Brian McGillivary
The Record-Eagle

Traverse City - Authorities dropped domestic assault charges against a local judge's wife and released her from jail after she agreed to stiffer probation requirements tied to a previous drunken-driving conviction.

Cynthia Stowe allegedly assaulted her husband, Grand Traverse County Probate Judge David Stowe, on Jan 30 at their Long Lake Township home. On Friday, she agreed to an additional year of probation in a plea agreement with Special Prosecutor Charles Koop of Antrim County.

The defendant, in the people's opinion, has an alcohol problem that was not under control," Koop said. "The family was in crisis and needed some outside help. This will be addressed by the modified probation terms."

The new probation is stiffer than what's normally meted out for a first-time domestic violence conviction, Koop said. It also includes provisions for Cynthia Stowe, 50, to undergo substance abuse and domestic violence counseling and monitoring until August 2013.

Cynthia Stowe stood in court alone on Friday, dressed in jail orange and an oversized jail coat, and dabbed at tears. She spent two days in jail because she consumed alcohol, a violation of bond conditions placed on her after the domestic violence arrest.

David Stowe, in his courtroom one floor above the courtroom where his wife appeared, did not attend the hearing.

"It's a family matter and as much as I wanted to be there, it's not something I can involve myself in as a judge," David Stowe said.

Defense attorney, Craig Elhart called the plea deal a "satisfactory resolution for everyone," and said Cynthia Stowe would return home on Friday.

David Stowe and Elhart denied an assault occurred on Jan. 30.

Koop said he believes otherwise, but said it would be difficult to prove the case because David Stowe refused to cooperate with authorities and Cynthia Stowe's 16-year-old son - who called 911 that evening to report the incident - changed his story.

"These are hard cases and I didn't do this just because she is married to a judge," Koop said.

The son called 911 that evening to report his mother was drinking heavily and hitting his stepfather, David Stowe.

"She attempted to hit me," the son told the 911 dispatcher. "I blocked, and Dave has been getting in the way and she keeps hitting him across the face, like punching him hard."

"Yeah, I just had to do this," he told the dispatcher. "This has happened way too many times and it's gone too far this time."

When David Stowe discovered his stepson called 911 and deputies were on the eay, he told the boy he was leaving the house and that the teen should, as well. The boy pleaded for David Stowe to stay, according to the 911 recording the Record-Eagle obtained through a state Freedom of Information Act request.

"You can't leave," the boy said. "You have to stay, please. I need somebody to back me up, Dave."

David Stowe agreed to remain in the house after he spoke with the dispatcher.

Sheriff's deputies reported David Stowe was bleeding from scratches on his neck, but he refused to allow officers to photograph his injuries, Koop said.

The boy changed his story in a follow-up interview that didn't occur until Thursday because deputies couldn't locate him, Koop said.

"This is not uncommon in domestic violence cases where the person who is assaulted doesn't want to go forward," Koop said. "This is a good example of how domestic violence crosses all stratum. A lot of time we don't think of professional people being battered.

David Stowe said the incident provided him a sense of empathy for what others encounter in the criminal justice system, but he declined to discuss the incident.

"We all have issues in our personal life like anyone else and I'm hopeful that we respect the personal lives of people," David Stowe said.

David Stowe was elected to the probate judge post in 2000. Cynthia Stowe is a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The two began a romantic relationship while she worked for him; previous to Stowe's hiring of the then-Cynthia Curry, David Stowe oversaw child custody matters in her divorce case. David Stowe and Cynthia Curry married in early 2009.

Benzie Circuit Court Judge James Batzer in September sentenced Cynthia Stowe to a day in jail and a year of probation after she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle with a high blood-alcohol content.

She was arrested Aug. 6 and police reported her blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the state's legal limit for intoxication.

She may yet face a probation violation hearing for that charge, and if she again violates her probation Koop can reinstate domestic violence charges.

Eighty-Sixth District Court Judge Michael Haley brokered Friday's plea deal through a phone conference with Batzer, but the deal doesn't take effect until Batzer signs the modified probation terms.

Judge's wife violates bond, goes to jail
February 23, 2012
Art Bukowski
The Record-Eagle

Traverse City - A local judge's wife went to jail after authorities said she violated her bond on a domestic violence arrest.

Cynthia Stowe, wife of Probate Judge David Stowe, tested positive for alcohol consumption on two separate breath test this month, authorities said. Bond set after a Jan. 30 domestic violence arrest required her to periodically blow into a home testing device.

Her bond included a provision that she not consume alcohol, among several other restrictions.

District Judge Michael Haley on Wednesday revoked Stowe's bond and sent her to jail pending the outcome of the domestic violence charge. She also was arraigned on that charge Wednesday.

Grand Traverse County Sheriff's deputies arrested Stowe after a January altercation at the Long Lake Township home where she lived with David Stowe. her son called police to say she had assaulted David Stowe, police said.

Defense attorney Craig Elhart on Wednesday asked for a hearing on the alleged bond violations. Cynthia Stowe, 50, blamed the failure of the alcohol tests on a dessert that contained rum and a medication given after a dental appointment. Haley wasn't sympathetic.

"That's just inane to offer that as an excuse," he said, of the rum dessert explanation.

David Stowe was elected to the probate judge post in 2000. Cynthia Stowe - known as Cynthia Curry prior to her marriage to Stowe - is a former family court employee who worked under Stowe from 2002 to 2005.

The two began a relationship while they both worked in the court, and David oversaw child custody matters in Cynthia's divorce case. David subsequently fired the county's family court administrator for reporting the relationship to county officials. The county later paid a $69,000 settlement to that ex-employee.

David and Cynthia married in early 2009.

A Benzie Circuit judge in September sentenced Cynthia Stowe to a day in jail and a year probation after she pleaded guily to a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle with a high-blood alcohol count.

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