Sunday, April 30, 2017

Unveiling the Berrien County Sheriff's Department and Court System

The probation director Jessica Holmes, 35, plead guilty in a sex case. The former coordinator of a Berrien County probation program has plead guilty to two charges of relationship with a probationer, according to her friend Berrien County Prosecutor Michael Sepic. Sepic said Holmes plead guilty in court to delivery of a controlled substance, a felony which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and obstruction of justice, a 5-year felony. As part of the plea deal, a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony, was dismissed by her friend prosecutor Sepic. It is great to have a corrupt prosecutor as your friend.

Jessica Holmes entered her plea before Berrien County Trial Court Judge John Donahue and sentencing was set for 1:30 p.m. on May 1, 2017. Prosecutor Sepic, who just so happens to be Holmes' good friend, said staff in a neighboring county will write up the pre-sentencing investigation report.

Most of Berrien County's judges and other court staff disqualified themselves from involvement with the case because of their friendship with Holmes. Holmes worked in the probation program for 16 years and had been made coordinator of Swift and Sure program--a probation status in which probationers convicted of felonies are selected for a state-funded program that gives them a second chance to succeed on a local probation term and avoid going to prison.

A county worker by law cannot have a sexual relationship with a probationer. Holmes was having an affair with a probationer. When Holmes was arrested last year, it was alleged that she had developed a relationship with a Swift and Sure probationer, after the July 11 deadly shooting at the Berrien County courthouse. Sepic said Holmes met the probationer that day in a courtroom, near where the fatal shooting of two court officers took place, and the two developed a personal relationship.

It was alleged that Holmes provided the probationer with a controlled substance, Norce, to sell on her behalf, that she had a sexual relationship with him, and that she provided him with confidential scheduling information regarding when he would be drug and alcohol tested for the Swift and Sure program.

This is just one of many cases about Berrien County's corrupt court system. The Berrien County shoplifting Sheriff's deputy, the county commissioner who stole almost a million dollars, the sexual attacks by members of the Sheriff's department, judges given breaks. When does the corruption stop? We must confront this corrupt system at all costs.

-Rev. Edward Pinkney