Reader disagrees with judge candidate’s methods.

October 27, 2014
Letter to the Editor:
I wanted to pass along my thoughts to everyone that is going to vote in the upcoming election for 51st Circuit Court Judge. I see signs for Paul Spaniola up and it makes me physically ill to think he could be the next judge.
Mr. Spaniola is riding a wave of tragic incidents that have happened in our county. We saw his name up front for the Baby Kate case, the Trooper Butterfield murder, and several other high profile cases. The real story behind all of those incidents is that Mr. Spaniola was given all the evidence and other information he needed because of the hard work of our local law enforcement community as well as the Michigan State Police crime labs and investigators. Mr. Spaniola just had to present the info to the judge and take all the credit.
How many other times have we seen crimes that are disturbing to all of us and then seen a plea agreement offered? How many times have we seen Judge Cooper reject the plea deals because he stated they were too lenient? Mr. Spaniola has shown several times that he is willing to do the least amount of work possible to get through his day. I have seen firsthand how he can treat someone if he is willing to gain something. I was told earlier in the year, by a very reputable source that he was trying to prosecute as many cases of criminal sexual contact (CSC) in attempt to win favor of local organizations that give help to those that were affected but such crimes. In some cases I saw firsthand Mr. Spaniola stretch things to the limit in order to get some kind of verdict. Even if that meant scare tactics or unprofessionalism.
Then it finally came to a head when Mr. Spaniola charged me with a felony for making a simple mistake. As a 100% disabled veteran who served the Ludington area for 5 years in the Coast Guard. I filed for my Concealed Pistol License (CPL) and on one of the forms I didn’t put down that I had mental disorder. I was told I had PTSD several years ago and now the VA says I don’t actually qualify for PTSD. After my application was given to the gun board I was sent a letter that I was disqualified from obtaining my CPL because of my PTSD. A week later I got another letter that said I was also now disqualified of having been diagnosed with depression. I never thought that either of those issues, that I have had under control for years, would be considered a mental disorder. To me a mental disorder is Bi-Polar Disorder with violent tendencies, Paranoid Schizophrenia or someone that has been involuntarily committed to a mental intuition for some issue.
Depression isn’t even defined by the Michigan Gun Law until the very last sentence of a 12 page description of mental disorder. So by definition anyone that has depression of any type, including but not limited to seasonal depression should not be able to obtain a CPL. Yet we have police officers all over that have experienced traumatic events and suffer f! rom some sort of depression. Who is more qualified to obtain a CPL then someone who served their country and learned more about handling weapons, use of force and deadly force situations then a lot of our veterans. But because of their service most of them won’t be able to obtain a CPL. I have no problem with someone taking a class and obtaining their permit if they are going to be responsible and take the issue extremely serious.
Well instead of just letting it go at rejecting my application and telling me why, Mr. Spaniola found it necessary to charge me with a crime. I have read several other minutes from the gun board and I never saw anywhere that someone was asked to be investigated by the local police because of my mistake. Mr. Spaniola I’m sure has made mistakes but was he ever prosecuted for them, no. When I hired a lawyer, my lawyer sent a letter to the prosecutor asking to withdraw my application because I made a mistake. A response was never received by my lawyer a! nd eventually I told that I had to go in front of the magistrate and was charged with a crime. Even when I went to the sheriff’s office to be photographed and fingerprinted they couldn’t even find a criminal code to charge me under because this was something they had never heard of. After my years of service to this nation I was never as ashamed as I was that day. I saved lives and upheld the laws of our nation and now I was a common criminal in the eyes of the law. How could I face all of those that I had been friends with over the years who were law enforcement officers? I was no longer a peer.
The end came after I accepted a plea deal from the special prosecutor from Manistee. I took a lesser charge of making a false statement and I entered a no contest plea because I was never going to say I was guilty. I found out later that this charge goes along with a year of probation and 5 years after that I can ask to have the charge expunged. The worst part I found out is tha! t this person, who loves this country and tries to volunteer for anything I can, can’t volunteer for Hospice for 5 years or in the schools for 5 years. I have volunteered in my girls schools since my oldest was in pre-school and now because Mr. Spaniola wanted to prove something, I can’t help in the schools or with anything dealing with medical situations for five years.
Mr. Spaniola has destroyed my life and unless I can get the governor to grant me a pardon I will have to wait 5 years before I can help out again. Mr. Spaniola has shown over the years that he can hold a grudge and didn’t have anyone to answer to so he could charge or not charge as he saw fit. We need to stand up as a county and make sure Mr. Spaniola does not become our next judge. We can’t let someone with his own agenda and no remorse for all the wrong things he has done, be the person who is making judgments for our district.
Richard Singleton
Amber Township

Area Churches