Mason county's justice system and law enforcement is out of control.  An article written by Patti Klevorn of the City of Ludington Daily News (COLDNews) tells a story that illustrates this.  This article is reprinted in it's entirety below for analysis. 

A series of errors by legal professionals may have a 56 year old Amber Township man sitting behind bars for the rest of his life, because the system failed to protect his rights.  It starts off with a process server coming by 'his home' to serve him eviction papers.  The guy doesn't come to the door to accept the process, so the server calls for police assistance.

As a former apartment manager, I've had to go through the routine of serving eviction papers to deadbeat tenants, so I can commiserate with the frustration of the server.  However, the man had a legal right not to come to the door to receive the eviction.  The server should have let it go, and tried again.  When the MCSO arrived they should have explained to the process server (who could be a professional or just a normal person) that they cannot force the man to open the door and be served. 

According to the article, the deputies were talking with the man at his door when he made a reference to shooting.  From the circumstances, it would probably have been something like "Get off my property, or I will start shooting."  The article is unclear and taken from the deputies involved, which makes me think that it wasn't a hard threat. 

What was threatening was that the deputies then invaded the man's home, escalating the situation and likely violating the man's Fourth Amendment rights to be secure in his home.  I say likely, because mentioning 'shooting' in a non-specific way would usually not rise to an exigent circumstance to have law enforcement operatives invade a person's house absent of a warrant.  They received a felony arrest warrant shortly thereafter on the basis of the man's defense of his homestead.

As we sort through the verifiable facts, let's not forget how the Mason County Sheriff's Office escalated simple traffic stops, attacking innocent vehicle passengers, Kimberly Septrion, and Joseph McAdam and charging them with serious crimes when they were actually the victim of serious crimes conducted by the MCSO.  Thankfully, we have tapes of those encounters; it is yet unknown whether we will have records of this interaction that went bad, that would indicate whether there were any threats and whether it was legitimate for the deputies to do what they did.

Perhaps if we do, we can once again observe how poorly our county trains its deputies.  We will try to update this story as new information comes in.  There is a fair possibility that the process server worked for the MCSO, here is what they provide to landlords concerning this service.  If that was the case, they surely should know their bounds and not have to call for backup to serve process papers.

Ambulances from Grant Township Fire & Rescue and Life EMS block Amber Road at Countyline Road in Mason County's Grant Township Friday afternoon as they wait to hear if they are needed at the scene in which Mason County Sheriff's Office deputies say a man threatened to shoot them. 

GRANT TOWNSHIP — What started as service of an eviction notice ended in a 56-year-old man threatening to shoot Mason County sheriff’s deputies Friday afternoon. 

It could have ended much worse, Sheriff Kim Cole said. 

No shots were fired and no one was hurt or killed. 

“There is nothing to indicate the community is at risk,” Cole said. 

He does not have a violent criminal history, deputies determined, and they are learning more about him personally now through communication with people who are familiar with him. 

There is an arrest warrant for the man and the department is taking this time to re-evaluate the situation and let the man’s emotions settle. How and when he’ll be arrested is to be determined. 

“The arrest warrant is not going to go away,” Cole said. 

Two deputies were at the scene of the North Amber Road residence after they were called to assist a process server when the man refused to come to the door for the server to give an eviction court order.

The home is in foreclosure. 

Deputies went to the door of the home in the rural area off Countyline Road Friday. The man made a comment about shooting and went back into the house. The deputies went in after him. 

“He made it into a bedroom and again said something about shooting at them, and he could be heard racking a weapon,” Cole said. 

The deputies called in for assistance and together the Mason County Sheriff's Office, Manistee County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Michigan State Police troopers set up a perimeter around the house. 

The man was suicidal, according to information being shared with officers through Mason-Oceana 911.

Life EMS and Grant Township Fire & Rescue personnel responded and were available, staging at the Countyline and Amber roads intersection in case they were needed. 

In the meantime, an arrest warrant for felonious assault was secured, due to the man’s threat of shooting at the deputies, Cole said.

“The deputies perceived it as a very legitimate threat,” Cole said. 

Evaluating the situation, Cole said he decided against a SWAT team, believing it was the safest for everyone to leave the scene, let the man calm down and find out more information before proceeding any further. 

“The things you have to consider include the officers’ and this person’s mindset,” Cole said. “There was a high probability of this ending badly today. We’re going to sit back and re-evaluate.”

The man has an unrelated civil warrant for his arrest, as well, but there was no indication of a previous violent history Friday afternoon, Cole said.

The officers all left the scene about 4:30 p.m.

The man was in the home alone and there was no hostage situation, Cole said.

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That could be right on the mark, stump, the reported facts indicate something along those lines.  It sure would be nice if the MCSO deputies had a microphone and/or camera on them or their vehicle, so we could review the sequence of events.  If protocols were followed, I think these would be released to show how professional our kounty kops handled the situation.

What business does a process server have calling the police when I won't open my door? NONE. Case against evictee dismissed!

At least when Fiers was sheriff he might have not fixed a leaky faucet and his deputies might have messed up a couple boat motors but at least he was honest, fair and open about things.

I betcha Claire "The Bookgirl" Whitcomb never called 9-1-1 or other backup when people didn't answer the door (even when she knew they were home). 

Sheriff Cole, in the integrity department, can't hold a candle to Sheriff Fiers, nor can he compete with his fiscal conservatism. 


Does anyone know of any further developments regarding this situation?

Sheriff Cole and his crew, but they're not talking.

Still waiting on that FOIA request.  I got one late this afternoon in my E-mail, but it was for the motorcycle crash that took the lives of the Butler couple out on South Scottville Road.  They denied all records because the crash is still under investigation.  Kim Cole cannot deny the release of crash reports by saying there is an active investigation. 

A major problem regarding this situation is how local officials have escalated the incident. This is a big issue that I have with law enforcement. None of this should be happening and now this man is caught up in another legal battle that may very well put him over the top. It's bad enough to lose your home but having law enforcement coming down on him may be to much for the man. The process server should not have called the police and the police should not have involved themselves. Luckily there is not another body laying in the morgue due to an over reaction by the police. 

Brilliant points, Willy.  And yet, given the same set of facts as you or I, there are a surprising number of people on Facebook who comment on the MCP and COLDNews articles and commend the sheriff's office for the job they do and for handling the situation so well. 

Thanks X, there are times when the fog does clear. It seems to me that the people who only get their information from the MCP or the LDN will forever remain ignorant of what is really going on. When I look at what is presented in the local media compared to what is posted here it becomes clear just how badly people are being spoon fed liberally censored information by the MCP and the LDN.


Could a member of the media actually talk to this guy or are they all terrified of the wrath of KimCole? 

If someone could get me a name and address or phone number for this person, I would.  But Sheriff Cole believes he has the ability to control the flow of information from his office. 

It would seem that to be a process server you would have to know how to serve the papers. As I have never been served papers but have heard that they have to make attempts to serve the paper a couple of times, then just stick it on the door. So what was with this guy? No knowledge of the job he was suppose to do or just a dick head?

You're right on target, Stump.  As noted in section 4.201 (D)(3) of the Michigan court rules it tell the service of process in the original complaint/summons in the eviction process:

"In addition to mailing, the defendant must be served in one of the following ways... after diligent attempts at personal service have been made, by securely attaching the papers to the main entrance of the tenant's dwelling unit."

Later on in the order of eviction section (L(2)), it states how the order needs to be delivered to the landlord and served on the tenant, presumably in the same procedure described in D(3).


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