By Rosemary K. Otzman
On Oct. 29 Darius Christopher Stirgus, 33, waived his preliminary exam on several charges before 34th District Court Judge Brian A. Oakley. The judge bound him over to circuit court for a Nov. 12 arraignment on the information.
On Nov. 12, He was arraigned on the information by Circuit Court Judge Deborah A. Thomas at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. A disposition conference was set for Nov. 19 before Judge Thomas. Then it was continued to Nov. 26.
Stirgus is facing charges of forging license documents/plate and operating while license is suspended, revoked or denied/allowing a suspended person to operate vehicle on Oct. 10 in Van Buren Township. He also has been labeled a habitual offender.
VBT Detective Ken Toney pointed out to Judge Oakley that Stirgus was also facing two Michigan State Police charges of driving while license suspended, an operating while intoxicated charge, and a stop sign charge.
Stirgus, who is out on $5,000/10% bond, was advised to talk to the prosecutor about the charges.
He came back into the courtroom with a plea deal where he would plead guilty to a new charge of having no valid driver’s license on person, and the other charges would be dismissed.
He told Judge Oakley that on July 20 at Bemis and Savage roads in Sumpter Township he drove while his driver’s license was suspended. He said he lived for nine months on Haggerty Road.
Judge Oakley said he wanted to see Stirgus’ driving record before he sentenced him.
Stirgus returned to the courtroom with a plea deal for his Dec. 8, 2011 charges in Belleville. He pled guilty to operating while impaired and the other charges were dismissed. His blood alcohol was .09.
He was sent to the probation department who would report to the judge before Stirgus was sentenced on that charge.
And, the judge sentenced him to six days on the work program and $795 in fines for another file.
Karren Arronrobe Couch
Karren Arronrobe Couch, Jr., 22, pled guilty to driving while his alcohol level was .17 or more in Sumpter Township on Sept. 20. Actually, he said it was .24. His driving while license suspended charge was dismissed.
Couch told Judge Oakley that he is attending Washtenaw Community College and has no job. He has lived on Rawsonville Road for five years, he said.
Bond was continued and he will be back for sentencing. Sumpter Officer Danielle Buccellato was in charge of the case.
Rajan Nagibha Sutariya
The retained attorney for defendant Rajan Nagibha Sutariya asked for an adjournment on the charges against his client. Sutariya is charged with domestic violence, operating while under the influence of liquor/UBAC, and personal watercraft charges.
His preliminary exam was adjourned for six weeks, to 9 a.m., Dec. 10. Judge Oakley pointed out this was the third adjournment – and the last. The attorney said this is the first adjournment for his law firm since they had just been hired. He said they will be picking up the discovery (evidence) the next week.
Van Buren Township Detective Mark Buxton is in charge of the case.
Defendant from Sri Lanka
Judge Oakley conferred with a defendant originally from Sri Lanka who spoke in Tamil through his interpreter. He found the defendant lost his job after the March 14 accident where he was charged with driving while license suspended.
Judge Oakley remembered the case and said he sentenced the man with days on the work program, which he completed, but he has not paid the $485 in fines and costs.
The interpreter said the man is trying to find a job. He had worked for 10 years, but then lost his job with the accident and has had a hard time getting another job.
Judge Oakley learned the man was surviving on the goodwill of friends and is staying with the interpreter. He has no money.
Judge Oakley said, instead of the money, he will sentence the man to 50 hours of community service, with at least 20 hours per month starting in November. He said he should work for a non-profit charity picked from the court’s list or find one on his own.
When the interpreter explained the change to the man, the man had tears of gratitude running down his face and a big smile.
Later on in the court session, another defendant asked if he couldn’t do community service, too, instead of paying money. When the judge determined the man had been working for 20 years, he said he had to pay the money.
By Rosemary K. Otzman