James Forrest Chapman showed up for court without an attorney on Aug. 2 and 34th District Court Judge Brian A. Oakley adjourned the preliminary exam on a felony charge and two misdemeanor charges for another week.
Chapman has been before Judge Oakley on and off for more than two years, with most sessions revolving around Chapman’s refusal to give DNA samples to police.
At the beginning of the Aug. 2 session, Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Greg Akaraz pointed out that Chapman’s defense counsel was not present for the felony charge.
“I am not ready for the preliminary exam,” Chapman stated.
“I thought we’d have an attorney,” said Judge Oakley, referring to Chapman’s firing of his court-appointed attorney at the July 12 court session.
At that time Judge Oakley said he expected a new attorney to be appointed for Chapman.
“Nobody’s contacted me,” Chapman said and he was informed that court-appointed attorneys don’t usually contact the defendants, but meet them just before a court session.
Chapman said he is seeking an attorney to work pro bono for him and he hoped to have him file as his attorney.
“I’m sure the conversation was that they’d have to appoint somebody,” Judge Oakley said of the July 12 court session.
He directed Chapman that if he gets an attorney, he should have him file an appearance.
Judge Oakley adjourned both the felony and the misdemeanors until Aug. 9.
Prosecutor Akaraz pointed out that the prosecution was ready to proceed. Standing by in the courtroom were Van Buren Township Police Detectives Donovan McCarthy and Michael Long and Officer David Champagne.
Chapman has been recharged with a felony charge of assaulting / resisting / obstructing a police officer and two misdemeanor charges of refusing to provide DNA samples.
The felony charge has gone to trial in circuit court twice. The first trial was declared a mistrial Oct. 27 after a juror suffered a medical problem and a VBT police officer entered the jury room to help her.
Then, when the charge went back to a jury on May 2, the VBT officers failed to show up to testify because they didn’t get subpoenas and were on the other side of the state getting marine training. That’s when the charge was dismissed without prejudice.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office refiled the charge and that is the one working its way slowly through district court.
Chapman was charged with assaulting / resisting / obstructing a police officer in Van Buren Township on June 3, 2016 after he jumped into Belleville Lake while being pursued by police after an altercation.
The failure to provide DNA misdemeanors are tied to that incident in 2016 and to an aggravated stalking charge in Aug. 16, 2015. The new law requiring police departments to retain DNA samples went into effect in January 2015.
Samuel Lewis Ward
A bench warrant was signed by Judge David Parrott for Samuel Lewis Ward, 38, who was due for his preliminary exam at noon Aug. 2 and didn’t show up. Ward bonded out on a charge of tampering with an electric monitoring device (tether) in VBT.
His retained attorney Delicia Cain-Taylor Coleman told the prosecutor the only time she could come to court was at noon, but then her client didn’t come.
Ward was originally scheduled for his preliminary exam on July 26, but he was tending to another charge against him at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice and missed the sheriff’s department’s transportation to the Romulus court. So, his exam was adjourned until Aug. 2.
VBT Det. Donovan McCarthy is the officer in charge of the case.
Sandra Ann Cole
Sandra Ann Cole, 57, was brought from the Wayne County Jail where she waived her preliminary exam on a charge of first-degree retail fraud. She is due at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice Aug. 9 for an arraignment on the information. She is charged with first-degree retail fraud on April 22, 2015 in VBT.
Judge Oakley released her on personal bond, but an officer said there is a retainer on her out of Oakland County and so she shouldn’t be let go.
Judge Oakley urged her to talk to the probation department about treatment for her drug addiction which is causing the retail fraud arrests.