Mier arraigned in circuit court on threat of terrorism charges relating to bank robbery case – Ogemaw County Herald

Posted: March 15, 2020 at 3:49 am


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By Matthew Keeton

WEST BRANCH Michael Mier, who faces charges related to the Sept. 6 robbery of Mercantile Bank in Rose City, was arraigned in 34th Circuit Court on Wednesday, Feb. 26, for eight charges of false report for threat of terrorism related to his alleged bomb threats to area schools and hospitals the morning of the robbery. A hearing was also held in which Mier filed multiple motions regarding his bank robbery and armed robbery charges on Feb. 26-27, most of which were ultimately denied by presiding Judge Robert Bennett.

Mier faces two charges of bank robbery and two armed robbery charges, each of which carry potential life sentences, while the false report for threat of terrorism charges each carry up to 20 years and/or $20,000 in fines and costs along with reimbursement of any costs incurred as a result of those threats. However, as he is also facing a felony fourth offense notice on all counts, he is effectively facing 12 life sentences.

Mier previously requested self-representation, though appointed attorney Thomas Schaiberger continued to serve as co-council. However, Schaiberger requested and was granted dismissal from the case on the grounds that Mier filed a grievance with the State Bar of Michigan. Mier also filed a grievance against Schultz for what he alleged to be prosecutorial misconduct. It was stated during the hearing that Mier currently has court-appointed representation for the threat of terrorism charges and still maintains the right to an attorney for the charges related to the robbery, which Mier stated his wish to excercise in future court proceedings.

Motions filed by Mier included a motion to suppress DNA evidence and evidence seized from initial and subsequent search warrants, however, Bennett explained at length that the warrants for that evidence were justified.

Mier also filed a motion to suppress on other grounds and to dismiss for reasons surrounding his arrest, arraignment, access to evidence, actions of 82nd District Court Judge Richard E. Noble and Prosecuting Attorney LaDonna Schultz, excessive force regarding his arrest and confession. After hearing examination of witnesses by both prosecution and defense, arguments presented by Mier and documentation related to the case, Bennett found Miers motion to be without merit.

Within hours of that (arrest), a warrant a weekend warrant is reviewed by the magistrate and approved, and bond is reviewed, Bennett said in part regarding his denial of Miers motion. Under the court rule, that is all thats necessary. On the next business day, you were arraigned. Again, your constitutional rights were adhered to and respected right along the way.

During the course of the proceedings, it was revealed that a be-on-the-lookout was put out for what is alleged to be Miers vehicle shortly after the robbery occurred, as a local resident saw the vehicle parked in a cemetery in close proximity the bank, found its location odd and sent a photo of the vehicle to Rose City Police Chief Dean Coleman. The vehicle was gone shortly after the robbery took place, and a police K-9 later followed a trail leading from the bank to the area where the vehicle had been parked. The photo of the vehicle matched the make and model of Miers vehicle, a late-model GMC pickup truck, and articles of clothing containing Miers DNA were later found near the scene. Mier argued this evidence to be circumstantial and not justifiable grounds for Arenac County Sheriffs Department deputies to later attempt a traffic stop, which Mier admitted during proceedings to fleeing, leading to a deputy performing a PIT maneuver which resulted in his vehicle leaving the roadway by a cornfield where he was subsequently arrested after a search.

Examining the evidence in its totality, that is a legitimate basis for a be-on-the-lookout to be disseminated to local law enforcement, and it gave the officers in the field reasonable suspicion to stop your vehicle Bennett said. If you would have stopped and complied you know what might have happened? They may have had to let you go, because at that time, you may have been right. But you didnt do that, did you? You ran, and now they have a right to arrest you, and because they have a right to arrest you, and theyre investigating the crime of bank robbery in this county, they have a right to take you here to continue that investigation. You were arrested, you were seized, and there was probable cause to do it.

One of Miers motions was to make video recording of his initial interview following his arrest part of the court record, which Bennett allowed. Mier alleged excessive use of force during the interview by Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Craig Johnson, citing Johnson threatened to bury him, the validity of which Bennett also declined.

I watched the entire interview, Bennett said. You are taking totally out of context Detective Johnsons statement about burying you. He was not implying that he was going to kill you and literally put you six feet in the ground. He was talking about, in this legal process, in this case were talking about, Im going to bury you, and Im going to see to it that you spend the rest of your life in prison.

Furthermore, Bennett stated in regard to that issue that no other coercive actions took place, Mier was read his Miranda rights, and that both he and law enforcement officers conducting the interview initialled a form attesting to that fact.

Ultimately, you didnt make any statements against your interest theres nothing to suppress, because you didnt confess, Bennett said.

Mier argued there was not sufficient evidence to justify his initial arraignment by the magistrate.

All that evidence the money, the clothes, the shoes that I was wearing, the truck even, did not come to the police until after I was arrested, Mier stated.

So is it your contention under Michigan law that before someone can be arrested for a crime, the department has to have all their evidence wrapped up and ready to go? Bennett asked, to which Mier replied, They have to have something.

They did, and Ive already gone through that twice, Bennett replied. By the time you were arraigned, all of that was in. Its in the affidavit for the search warrant. Thats probable cause for a search warrant and probable cause for an arrest.

Mier is scheduled for a pretrial conference on Friday, April 3 at 9:30 a.m.

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Mier arraigned in circuit court on threat of terrorism charges relating to bank robbery case - Ogemaw County Herald

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