By Diane Madigan
Independent Court Reporter
After pleading guilty as charged on five felony charges involving an 11-year-old girl, 19-year-old Van Buren Township resident Darryl Woodford was sentenced under HYTA.
The Holmes Youthful Training Act is a discretionary sentence where a person who pleads guilty to a crime committed between his/her 17th and 21st birthdays may, with the youth’s consent and without entering an adjudication of guilt, be assigned the status of a youthful trainee.
In Judge Margie R. Braxton’s courtroom at Circuit Court on May 21, Woodford was placed on probation for three years. Upon successful completion of all terms set by the judge, the court will dismiss the charges. On May 21, 2017 Woodford’s YTA status will be taken off.
If Woodford fails to successfully complete the terms of probation, the judge may terminate YTA status, enter an adjudication of guilt, and sentence the defendant.
The charges Woodford pled guilty to on April 8 are:
• Two counts of communicating with another to commit internet / computer crime;
• One count of child sexually abusive commercial activity;
• One count of possession of child sexually abusive material; and
• One count of distributing obscene matter to children.
Prior to sentencing, Woodford’s attorney Ryan Hill and the prosecutor had a sidebar conference with Judge Braxton. It was agreed between the parties that Woodford would not need to register as a sex offender.
In a statement to the court, Hill described Woodford’s status as living with his mother. He had not graduated from high school. According to Hill, Woodford had worked at Walmart but was terminated after an “unflattering article” in the Belleville paper.
Hill asked the court for two years of probation. The prosecution asked for five years. Judge Braxton ordered three years with two weeks in Wayne County Jail and a lot of requirements.
The conditions of Woodford’s probation include:
• He cannot have contact with any person under 17 without adult supervision;
• He must obtain sex offender counseling and waive confidentiality with authorities;
• He cannot own or possess any device to connect to the internet without obtaining permission from the probation department;
• He cannot take any sexually stimulating substances;
• He cannot possess or enter places where sexually stimulating material is sold or used;
• He must have no contact with the victim or be within 500 feet of her residence;
• He cannot live or work within 1,000 feet of school property;
• He cannot go within 500 feet of parks, playgrounds or other places primarily used by persons under 17 years of age;
• He must obtain GED or register within 45 days;
• He must report change of address to the probation department;
• He must seek and obtain employment;
• He must submit to search of property and car; and
• He must not use any assaultive behavior.
Judge Braxton gave Woodford two weeks credit for time served and ordered $455 in fines with an additional $285 per year in supervision fees and court costs.
Van Buren Township Detective Ken Toney was the officer in charge on this case.
By Diane Madigan