1988-1990 BEVINS & ASSOCIATES, P.C. Lansing, MI (Attorney)
General practice of law emphasizing criminal, divorce and special education law.
1990-1995 Barry County Prosecutor's Office Hastings, MI (Chief Assistant Prosecutor)
Represented the State of Michigan in criminal matters, represented Barry County in civil matters, advised and counseled Barry County Boards and Departments; evaluated, issued and prosecuted numerous felony and misdemeanor cases, including criminal sexual conduct, robbery, fraud, assault and theft, juvenile criminal and abuse/neglect; became chief assistant prosecutor approximately August, 1992; Continued as trial prosecutor with additional supervision duties.
1995 Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office Muskegon, MI (Assistant Prosecutor)
Represented the State of Michigan in evaluating, issuing and prosecuting criminal
1995-2012 Law Offices of David E. Gilbert Hastings and Battle Creek, MI (Sole Practitioner)
General practice of law including criminal, corporate, employment/whistleblower, contracts, juvenile, family, abuse/neglect, real estate related areas.
2003-Present Kellogg Community College Battle Creek, MI (Adjunct Professor)
Instructed (1) Trial Advocacy in Paralegal Program, (2) Real Estate Law in Paralegal Program and (3) Business Law in Business Program
2013-Present Calhoun County Prosecuting Attorney
Responsible for representing the People of the State of Michigan in Calhoun County, upholding the United States Constitution, the Michigan Constitution and enforcing the Laws of the State of Michigan and the Ordinances of Calhoun County, pursue paternity cases and obtain child support for our children, and protect our children from abuse and neglect. Supervise the largest law firm in Calhoun County, with over 35 employees including 14 attorneys and administers an annual budget of over 2.4 million dollars.
Elected Calhoun County Prosecutor 2012
Elected Chair, Criminal Law Section, State Bar of Michigan 2012
Elected to the Criminal Law Section Board of Directors
Elected to the Representative Assembly of the Michigan Bar Association
Children Mitchell and Shelby
I have been an attorney since 1988 and Calhoun County Prosecutor for the past 4 years. Prior to being elected, I was a successful assistant prosecutor and a chief assistant prosecutor dealing with every aspect of prosecution and a successful private practice attorney in a general practice that took me coast to coast in Michigan, and also to the Upper Peninsula. I advised county, township and city governments, and do so now. I am known for being prepared, ethical, and making sure that the rights of everyone are upheld. I am more trusted, and known for integrity and high ethical standards for both me and my staff. I am more trusted by police officers and endorsed by a number of police chiefs.
1. Domestic Violence and Violence against children, 2. The heroin epidemic, drug abuse and addiction in general, 3. Providing adequate services on tight and shrinking budgets. We have been addressing them and will continue to address them.
I do believe the office is being run efficiently. There is always room for improvement, which is something we try to do every day. I firmly believe in our open door policy on suggestions to make our office better. Based on budget restrictions, the office is being run efficiently and we actually provide more service to the community with less funding. Despite budget cuts, we added an Economic Crimes/Bad Check unit, began a Cold Case Unit, promoted training and advanced other services and established a canine support program, all while keeping within our budget.
The coordination between the police and the prosecutor’s office is excellent. Officers know they can talk to the attorneys and staff whenever they have an issue, and, again, there is an open door policy between myself, my staff and all outside agencies and citizens. Our police agencies work very well together, and there are numerous joint efforts.
In felony cases, my “plea to the charge” policy requires the offender to plea to the most serious offense or go to trial, including felony firearm charges. Of about 1,600 felony complaints issued every year, we have about 80% plead to the charge. That is acceptable, based on the fact that as cases move through the system, weaknesses become evident in some cases requiring plea bargains. In District Court, drunk driving and domestic violence cases have to meet certain criteria for plea bargains other than to the charge. The rest of the thousands of misdemeanor cases are dealt with taking into account making victims whole. Based on District Court resources, the numbers are acceptable.
Attorney at Law 1986 to 2016
Calhoun County Chief Assistant Prosecutor
1996-2000 and 2008-2012
Calhoun County Commissioner
Six children Joaquin, Ashley, Adrienne, Alexandria, Anthony and Aliyah.
I’m running for office because I have seen firsthand the growing divide between the criminal justice system and the general public. The Prosecutor’s office is pivotal in the public’s interaction with and perception of our criminal justice system. A Prosecutor must foster efficient and productive communication with all who come into contact with the criminal justice system, but stand alone if necessary to secure justice that is fair, evenhanded, and holds individuals accountable. I believe this perspective, as well as my 30 years of legal experience, including 8 years in the Prosecutor’s office, put me in the best position to hold the office of the Calhoun County Prosecuting Attorney.
1. Diversity training for my staff. Calhoun County is a diverse community, with a broad spectrum of religious groups, many ethnic and racial minorities, a large immigrant population, and even a broad range of socio-economic statuses. An effort must be made to establish a healthy, functioning relationship with all segments of our population. 2. An effective Economic Crime Unit. Business and white-collar crimes are often challenging, complex cases that require a certain level of expertise. The key is to hire an individual with the interest, background, and skill sets consistent with those found in the business world. 3. Efficient authorization of warrants, I will streamline the process.
All of my top three priorities, as well as other objectives I have, will require a reorganization of Prosecutor's office, so that reorganization is the most pressing issue. Reorganizing the office will involve assessing the skills and capabilities of those assigned to duties in the office and in the courtroom to make sure tasks are assigned to the individuals best suited to complete those tasks. Having the right individuals to meet the needs of the office may require me to recruit from outside the office, and I am prepared to do that if necessary.
Coordination between the Prosecutor’s office and the police agencies is currently inefficient and often ineffective. Most of the poor coordination stems from the lack of relationship building between the prosecutors and the rank and file of the police agencies. An elected Prosecutor and every Assistant Prosecutor must work hand-in-hand with law enforcement, maintaining an open-door policy in which officers are valued and respected. I have found through my 8 years in the prosecutor’s office that a willingness to be a consistent presence in the courtroom is the most effective way to build trust, confidence, and cooperation between the office and the police agencies.
Plea bargaining is a necessary reality of the criminal justice system. That’s true in every county, and ours is no exception. In evaluating whether the use of plea bargains is at an appropriate level, the question is less about the quantity of cases pled out, and more about the quality of cases pled out. I would never put a minimum or a cap on the number of cases we plead or the number we take to trial. We must evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether the use of plea bargaining is appropriate. Safety of the community is the number one priority when deciding which cases should be resolved through the plea bargaining process, and which cases should go to trial.