Kreinbrink, DeRouin running for prosecutor. 

July 24, 2020

Chad DeRouin

Kreinbrink, DeRouin running for prosecutor. 

#Election2020

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Primary Election takes place on Aug. 4. During the election, nominations are made from both the Republican and Democrat parties to decide who each respective party’s candidate will be in the November General Election. These profiles will feature the candidates who are running in contested races. 

Mason County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Kreinbrink and Oceana County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Chad DeRouin are both running for the Republican party nomination, replacing Democrat Paul Spaniola, who is retiring at the end of the current term. There is no Democrat candidate for the race, meaning, unless a write-in candidate steps forward, the election will be decided during the Primary Election by the Republican party voters. ‘

Kreinbrink is a 2009 graduate of Ludington High School. She received a bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a major in anthropology, graduating with honors. She then received her law degree from Michigan State University College of Law in 2016, passing the bar that year as well. She is engaged and is the daughter of John and Mary Kreinbrink of Ludington. Kreinbrink resides in Ludington. She has been with the Mason County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office since 2019 and had worked for the Manistee County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office prior to that. 

DeRouin is a native of Muskegon. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in 2010 and a law degree from Thomas A. Cooley Law School in 2013. He has served as chief assistant prosecuting attorney in Oceana County for three years. Prior to that he owned and operated the Law Office of Chad A. DeRouin, PLC in downtown Ludington for over two years. DeRouin resides in Pere Marquette. He’s a veteran of the US Army and is married with two children.

Lauren Kreinbrink

MCP: Why are you running for Mason County Prosecuting Attorney? 

Kreinbrink: I am running for Mason County Prosecuting Attorney because I believe that Mason County deserves a candidate who has the energy and determination to ensure that crime victims receive justice, and that criminal defendants are held accountable for their actions.  As a Ludington native and the current chief assistant prosecuting attorney of Mason County, I understand the challenges that Mason County residents and law enforcement agencies currently face.   I think that Mason County will be best served by a candidate who knows and is invested in the community.    This position is so much more than a job promotion. I am running for Mason County prosecuting attorney because I am committed to continuing to serve the community I was born and raised in, and to leading Mason County residents into a safer and more secure future.

DeRouin: I believe that my sense of justice and my breadth of experience make me well qualified to serve as the prosecuting attorney in Mason County.  I care deeply about the community and protecting the citizens of Mason County. I will fight for justice for victims of crimes, I will be the voice for the vulnerable and the voiceless, and I will faithfully abide by the principles of justice and integrity.  These are the principles that have driven me and will continue to drive me.  

MCP: What changes would you like to see in the prosecutor’s office: 

DeRouin: I believe there is room for reform in the justice system, not only in Mason County but throughout the United States, and I want to be the one that helps implement change in Mason County. I plan to hold people accountable for their actions but do it with the goal of protecting the general public and getting the offenders the help they need to become productive members of society.  I believe that an increase in the availability of mental health treatment is an important part of the reform that is needed, and I will work with DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services), WMCMH (West Michigan Community Mental Health) and other mental health advocates and professionals to help develop a plan that will benefit the citizens of Mason County. 

Kreinbrink: I want to foster a better relationship between the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office and people in Mason County.  I want to create an atmosphere where residents feel safe and are confident that victims are heard, law enforcement is supported, and criminal behavior with more wrongdoing will not be tolerated.  Mason County is a great place to live and work in.  To grow as a community, I feel that we need to continue to support those younger generations who want to make positive, yet sometimes unconventional, changes to our community.  

MCP: Can you address how you may improve relations between the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement? 

Kreinbrink: I plan to do this by personally offering an open-door, on-call availability to our agencies.  If an officer of the Ludington Police Department has a question on a case and wants to stop by my office at the Courthouse, he or she will be able to do that without an appointment.  If a deputy of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office needs a search warrant at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, he or she can call me so that work is done.  I also plan to implement a system where a prosecutor handling a felony matter would be required to notify the investigating officer of the status of the case prior to court disposition, just as we would now notify a crime victim.    I’ve learned in this work that returning a phone call or email goes a long way.  Our local law enforcement agencies do wonderful things for our community, and deserve to be supported by their prosecutors.  Differences of opinion will inevitably arise.  However, ensuring that law enforcement and prosecutors are communicating and are on the same page to the extent possible leads to stronger cases with better results for crime victims and our community.  

Chad DeRouin

DeRouin: Let me start by saying that law enforcement officers have a difficult, dangerous and challenging job. As a prosecutor I must work with, trust in, and communicate with law enforcement agencies on a regular basis. If elected, I will have an open door policy in which anyone, including members of the general public and law enforcement officers, will be encouraged to speak with me to discuss any questions, comments and/or concerns that they may have.  

MCP: What is your stance on prosecuting drug cases? 

DeRouin: I will fight for justice to protect our children and to put predators behind bars. I will lock up those who prey upon children, and vulnerable adults. I will also work hand-and-hand with local law enforcement agencies to prosecute drug dealers and put them behind bars where they are unable to further endanger our children and communities. 

Kreinbrink: I believe that advocating for lengthy sentences and less lenient plea agreements are two important changes that need to be made in the area of prosecuting drug crimes. Drug arrests are some of the most common cases that currently cross my desk today.  The county has seen a significant uptick in substance abuse and drug overdoses in 2020, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Drug-impaired drivers, especially in light of the legalization of marijuana in our state, are also a rising concern.  In 2019, I underwent extensive training to become a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) prosecutor so I am well well qualified to handle these cases., By lengthy sentences and less lenient plea agreements, I will send a clearer and more aggressive message that illegal drug use, delivery, possession, and manufacture will not be tolerated in Mason County.  

MCP: What is your stance on prosecuting CSC cases? 

Kreinbrink: CSC, or criminal sexual conduct cases, frequently cross my desk.  These cases can be difficult to prosecute due to their emotional nature, the severe penalties involved (meaning less potential for settlement), and sometimes evidentiary issues (lack of witnesses, physical evidence, etc.).  However, I’ve found that successful prosecution of these cases starts with building a solid relationship with the victim, or survivor, involved, and keeping him or her informed every step of the way.  Even before charging these cases, I always meet with the survivor first to get their thoughts and feelings about prosecution, and to hear what he or she would like to see from the case.  Before any hearing, I provide a tour of the courtroom, and a “practice session” to go over any questions I plan to ask.  At all stages, I’ve found that making the survivor feel believed and heard is critical to successful prosecution.  By investing more time with our survivors of criminal sexual conduct cases with a victim-centered approach to prosecution, I believe that we can better administer justice and more effectively deliver the harsh penalties that sexual predators deserve.

DeRouin: I will fight for justice to protect our children and to put predators behind bars. I will lock up those who prey upon children, and vulnerable adults. I will also work hand-and-hand with local law enforcement agencies to prosecute drug dealers and put them behind bars where they are unable to further endanger our children and communities. 

MCP: What is your philosophy on incarceration versus other forms of rehabilitative methods?  

DeRouin: See answer to question No. 1 above.

Kreinbrink: I think alternatives to incarceration and rehabilitative methods, particularly drug courts, are great options that I would love to implement if elected.  Whenever there is an opportunity to rehabilitate a criminal defendant and make him or her a productive member of the community again, that is a great goal that benefits everyone while keeping our community safe.  However, every criminal case is different.  Sometimes the facts of a case may dictate that incarceration is the most appropriate option to keep the public safe, and to deter similar criminal behaviors.  

In terms of implementing alternatives to incarceration and rehabilitative methods, the challenge we face in Mason County is that we lack the expansive community resources to make these programs possible, or have failed to fully utilize the resources we do have.  My goal would be to utilize the resources we currently have, while working with neighboring counties to draw more resources to our area, to make these programs a reality.

MCP: Why did you become a lawyer? 

Kreinbrink: Throughout high school, I enjoyed history, English, reading, and writing.  In college, I worked as an intern with Western Land Services, where I reviewed and processed lease contracts.  I enjoyed this detail-oriented work, and it was at this point where I thought working in a legal capacity would be a good fit for me.  From there, I originally wanted to pursue a career in environmental law to utilize my anthropological and archaeological studies during my undergraduate career.  Prior to going to law school, however, I spent a summer shadowing Paul Spaniola at the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office, and it was that time where my interest shifted from environmental to criminal law.  I enjoyed the challenging yet fulfilling nature of the work, and haven’t looked back since!

DeRouin: After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 2006 I enrolled at Western Michigan University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in aviation in 2010.  While completing my bachelor’s degree I took an aviation law course, which sparked my interest in the law.  Thus, when I graduated from WMU I decided to go on to Cooley Law School. 

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