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Barry County

Barry County Michigan is a relatively sparsely populated county located in the southwest part of Michigan's lower peninsula. The population is roughly 60,000 and it is surrounded by the counties of Ionia, Eaton, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Allegan, and Kent. Of interest is the fact that in 1939 oil deposits were discovered! Also, of note is the annual Barry-Roubaix cycling race.

The Criminal Courts of Barry County

Home to the beautiful Barry County Courthouse, located on the 2nd floor at 220 W. State Street, in Hastings, Michigan. This is where the Barry County Circuit Court is located and this is the court having jurisdiction over all felony criminal matters, including felony drunk driving, sexual assault and felony domestic violence, to name a few of the crimes resolved there.

Misdemeanor crimes will be handled in the 56-B District Court, located in the Barry County Courts & Law Building, 206 W. Court St., Ste. 202, Hastings, MI 49058. Most drunk driving cases are misdemeanors and will be handled entirely in this court. The same is true for most domestic violence, some kinds of sex assault cases and any other crime punishable by one year or less.

For crimes punishable by a year or more, which are classified as felonies, these cases will start in this court where the preliminary exam will be handled. This is a probable cause hearing, and if the prosecutor can show that the crime was probably committed, then it will be sent to the Barry County Circuit Court for further proceedings.

The Judges of Barry County

As a small county, Barry has just one Circuit Court Judge, whose name is Amy L. McDowell. If you are facing a felony charge in Barry County, this is the judge who will preside over your case. Judge McDowell has been a judge since 2011 when she was appointed by Gov. Rick Synder. Judge McDowell formerly worked as a prosecutor for about 6 years, and for part of that time she was the Chief Assistance Prosecutor. Judge McDowell has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the Western Michigan Thomas Cooley Law School where she was an instructor for Trial Workshop and Law Practice Management. She was also in private practice for 10 years. Judge McDowell professes expertise in criminal law, and is proud of her accomplishment in presiding over the "Swift and Sure Sanctions Pilot Program" which is an alternative to incarceration for certain kinds of felony crimes that uses rehabilitation services and intensive probation monitoring as opposed to long periods of incarceration.

If you are looking at a misdemeanor drunk driving, or any other misdemeanor crime, then your case will be in front of Judge Michael L. Schipper. Also appointed by Gov. Rick Synder, Judge Schipper has served since 2011. Also similar to Judge McDowell, Judge Schipper served as a prosecuting attorney before becoming a judge and for 20 years was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Grand Rapids. His tenure with them began in 1990, and in 2002 he started in their criminal division, where like the Barone Defense Firm's own Keith Corbett, he prosecuted violent crimes and large white-collar crimes.

The Criminal Defense Attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm have experience before these judges and will be happy to discuss your case with you and what you might expect when appearing before a judge in Barry County Michigan.

For more information, see the following:

Client Reviews
Patrick Barone is the ONLY choice for DUI defense. He was realistic from the start and made it a point to look at my case before taking my money. As a business owner, when I think of attorneys, I think of the "shark infested waters. Patrick is a shark alright, but his prey is not the client; it's justice for his client. Ten stars Patrick!! Chris F.
Attorney Patrick Barone was very helpful and helped me understand the charge and sentence absolutely clearly. He also guided me through step by step helping me form a statement. His instructions were clear and detailed. It was obvious he cared about me understanding every important detail within my case. I would absolutely recommend this defense firm to anyone in need. Aaron B.
The Barone Defense Firm is the firm I recommend. They are truly concerned about the person, not just the legal issue, but the person as well. They are the most knowledgeable defense firm that I am aware of, having actually written the book on DWI Defense. If you are faced with a DWI you will not find a more professional and skilled law firm. But, most importantly, they care about how the accused individual recovers his or her life when the case is complete. Very remarkable group of lawyers. William H.