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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: