Eaton County Sheriff's Office Criticizes Judge

By: Fay Li Email
By: Fay Li Email

Ruben Anzaldua was sentenced to 207 days in jail for robbing a bank in Vermontville. Circuit Court Judge Thomas Eveland granted him work release, Monday through Friday between 2:50 p.m. And 11:10 p.m.

"That's the big question, why has the judge chosen to release a convicted felon on work release," said Eaton County Undersheriff Fred McPhail.

Undersheriff McPhail says they've kept him in custody, despite an August 14th court order. He claims the man is still a threat to the community.

"The judge was threatening to have a show-cause hearing which would basically have the sheriff or I come before him and possibly be found in contempt of court if we did not comply with his order," said Undersheriff McPhail.

The undersheriff says they will reluctantly comply, but they put out a community alert on Facebook warning citizens and also pointing out that Judge Eveland granted work release to Christopher Perrien, the man accused of murdering a Delta Township couple.

"I think the judge should've resigned his post last September after these murders."

Eaton County Prosecutor Jeff Sauter objected the work release, but says he's disappointed with how the sheriff's office handled its disagreement.

"I think our system of justice requires us to recognize each official has their own role...the sheriff's is to follow the judges order regarding incarceration," Sauter said.

Sauter also thinks it's unfair to bring up the Perrien case and criticize the judge's decision out of context. He pointed out that Anzaldua has no previous record and was unarmed at the time of the crime.


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  • by Dana Location: Lansing on Oct 1, 2012 at 11:08 AM
    I'm pretty sure that Fred McPhail does not want to have a public discussion about the failures involved in the Chris Perrien case. While Senator Rick Jones and the Eaton County Sheriff want to place the blame of that case solely at the feet of Judge Eveland, there is plenty of blame to go around. Including with Mr McPhail's department. And I believe it was Mr McPhail's office that was patting Senator Rick Jones on the back for his new bill on work release. If that bill was as complete and as fantastic as Mr Jones and Mr McPhail's office claimed it was, what exactly is the problem here? I would think after the Chris Perrien case Judge Eveland would be a bit leary about granting work release. But I also think Mr McPhail and Mr Raines need to look at their own offices when they start casting blame and suggestion someone should resign their post. Anytime Mr McPhail would like to openly discuss failures, I'm game.
  • by Sara Location: Dewitt on Sep 23, 2012 at 01:20 PM
    I would have to agree as well. So I guess you can ROB a bank and get less time then drunk driving. Way to set the example Eaton County. Your track record says enough for itself.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 23, 2012 at 05:10 AM
    I thought if you robbed a bank it was a federal offense.
  • by Kelly Location: Jackson on Sep 22, 2012 at 05:49 PM
    So a bank robber went to jail instead of prison. Then the judge orders a work release for the felon. Add to that the fact that the Prosecutor disagrees with the judge, but wants the sheriff and undersheriff to 'play nice' and show their 'respect' for the judge's decision. I sure hope the good, law-abiding folks in Eaton Rapids remember that, both, the judge and the prosecutor are elected officials.
  • by Marilyn Location: Lansing on Sep 22, 2012 at 03:45 AM
    I think I have to agree with the sheriff's office. Too many felons are out there, courtsy of some judge to do more harm. Do the crime? do the time.
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