Does Mike win with the AG on the case?
Michael Terpening, though defense counsel and his loyal band of Followers, has been crying foul at the Barry County Prosecutor's office for months. From actual allegations of criminal misdeeds and to criticism there is something because the Barry County Commission refused to give the prosecutor the budget he wanted, Terpening and the Followers have been relentless.
We've all heard these allegations in the media before, and when litigated, courts rarely side with defendants throwing mud at the wall. While the public demands high standards of our prosecutors, the issue for the jury is did Michael Terpening sexually abuse young men in his care and did he commit insurance fraud?
The Barry County Prosecutor did something quite stunning February 10, 2012. He surrendered to the interests of justice by handing the Terpening case to the Michigan Attorney General's (AG) office, someone Mike Terpening has exhorted his Followers to contact in his quest to see this case end before it reaches the jury.
In most cases, the prosecutor is going to litigate through the allegations, defeat them one at a time and move on to trial. The team in Barry County took a better course by handing this case to the AG.
- Rodney wins. Whether Rodney placed himself intentionally between Mike Terpening and the Prosecutor, for some gain, or was used by Jennifer and Jamie Moore Bell as they sat in a car recording Rodney's recant, Rodney is no longer in the middle. If witness tampering went on, the AG's office will handle the matter without the appearance of any bias and without any need to litigate the allegations raised against the prosecutor; allegations he strongly denies.
- Witnesses win. From media reports, Rodney is not the only witness approached by Terpening Followers. The AG's office has experience most county prosecutors simply do not have with witness tampering. If Rodney, whom the Followers have reported as being nearly homeless, needs assistance, the Michigan Attorney General will have resources to protect their witness making him invulnerable to manipulation. (Sure beats a 19 year old being cooped up in a Bed and Breakfast in Hastings!) If Rodney's recant is the true, the AG can make that known.
- Justice wins. This case, according to Followers posts,
has continuing police activity
including seizing cell phones and, more recently, tax records.
From the reporting of this website, there may be serious
questions to answer about how
the non-profit were paid. Information from the Barry
County Clerk, further, shows reports from Alcona and
Ingham County Sheriff's Departments in the criminal case.
Finally, alleged victims were placed with Terpening from
many courts from around the state; and could be all over
There is a point where an expanding case is better handled by the statewide agency with the resources to coordinate with all the agencies and people involved in the case.
Jamie Moore Bell comments about the AG entering the case on the Justice for Michael Terpening Facebook page, "Hopefully fresh UNBIASED eyes will finally get this nigtmare (sic) sorted out" Moore Bell seems to expect charges to be dropped in this case when the AG see it her way.
While this writer will not predict what the AG may do, at a preliminary hearing in this case a court of law has found probable cause to believe the crimes charged were committed and probable cause to believe Mike Terpening committed these crimes. Barry County chose not to bicker with Terpening and handed the case to the AG who has far more experience with the complexity Terpening and his Followers added since his arrest.
The question remains, did Mike commit these crimes? If he wants to put the prosecutors on the witness stand to help the jury to decide whether or not he raped a ten year old child, he is now free to call them. If Terpening wants to get testimony from the prosecutors to prove he did not molest four young men in his care, his lawyer can now force them to take the oath.
Update March 8, 2012
The Hastings Banner posted their reporting on the prosecutor handing the Michael Terpening case over the the Attorney General's office. The article reports information not previously reported by the media that the Attorney General sought to add four additional witnesses to the prosecution case. The Assistant Attorney General also asked the court to add four people to the, "no contact" order already in place in the case.
The case is scheduled for a Motions Hearing on May May 4th, with trial currently slated to begin June 11.