Category Archives: Police Brutality

Ex-Detroit Prosecutor Allowed Lies On Stand: Sentenced To 6 Months In Jail


DETROIT — The Detroit-area’s former top drug prosecutor pleaded guilty Wednesday to misconduct in office and agreed to a six-month jail sentence for covering up the role of a paid police informant in a major cocaine bust.

Karen Plants’ guilty plea follows deals with two former Inkster police officers, leaving a retired Wayne County judge to face trial in May.

Plants, who led the drug unit at the Wayne County prosecutor’s office, has acknowledged allowing an informant and others to lie at a 2005 trial about a 103-pound cocaine seizure. She said it was to protect the man’s safety but conceded in 2006 that “allowing false statements is wrong.”

“This was a case where if one person had done the right thing, we wouldn’t be standing here now,” said Plants’ attorney, Ben Gonek. “The police, the prosecutor, the judge, anyone could have corrected this but didn’t. It was a snowball effect of the large quantity of cocaine, the reputation of the target of the investigation as a large dealer with the potential for violence.”

The man charged in the cocaine case, Alexander Aceval, pleaded guilty after a jury couldn’t reach a verdict at his first trial.

Aceval is in prison until at least 2015. He has been trying to wipe out his guilty plea, arguing that misconduct poisoned the entire legal process, but higher courts have not granted him relief.

The informant, Chad Povish, was paid $4,500 and had hoped to get thousands more. He tipped Inkster police to the big stash and was arrested with Aceval to further cover up his role. But when Aceval went to trial, it was never disclosed to the defense or jury.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said she would not comment on Plants’ guilty plea until after former Judge Mary Waterstone’s trial. The state attorney general’s office is in charge of the case.

“Jail time was a requirement for us because she was the ringleader in a case that has permanently scarred our criminal justice system,” said John Sellek, spokesman for Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “This should send the message that no one is above the law, especially those charged with upholding our laws.”

How do you feel about this story? Is this another sign of corruption in Detroit and the way they handle cases?  Our experience with the Detroit Prosecutors Office in the Reginald Burks case was not very good.  We felt Robert A. Stevens did not seek the truth or care about the evidence.  What do you think?


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Filed under Holly Valente, Police Brutality, Prosecutorial Misconduct

The Joshua Stough Case

In 2006 Dan Ambrose represented Joshua Stough in a heart wrenching Criminal Sexual Assault Case in Traverse City, Mi.

Joshua Stough Victory

Here is an excerpt from Josh’s story.  Click her to visit his website

“On or around February 13, 2006 at 5:30 p.m. I (Joshua Stough) received a phone call from a man saying he was a Michigan State Police Officer.  He identified himself as Trooper Arcienega. The way that the man spoke to me he did not sound like a police officer at all, in fact he sounded specifically like he was about fifteen years old. I was told by him that it was reported that I was involved in a hit and run and I needed to come down to the police post. I knew for a fact that I had not been in an accident and that no one would have reported it. (I had a VERY unique truck at the time.) At this point I told him that I did not believe that he was a police officer and that I was not going to talk to

him until he told me the truth. When I said this the Trooper became very upset with me. We ended up exchanging some words that were not very appropriate for me to say, and especially not for a  police officer to say.

After this exchange he informed me that he wanted to talk to me about when I lived with Karen Hoogerhyde. The moment he said Karen, I had an idea of what this was about. (When I rented a room from Karen, her daughter (Christina) also lived at the house, the reason why I had moved out was that I had found written in Christina’s diary an entry that said “I had sex with Josh.” When I found the diary I immediately took it to Karen. Christina was questioned by her mother about it and by counselors about it. A few days later I moved.) At this point the conversation was over. The Officer said that he would call me in a day or two to set up a meeting; we hung up at this point. After I got off the phone with the Trooper I drove to the police post to see if in fact he was a real officer.

When I arrived at the post it was closed, I saw two officers outside in the back talking. I asked them if Trooper Arcienega was inside. They said “no”. The moment they said no, a short Mexican looking officer came running out of the post. This was Arcienega. He asked who I was. I replied and told him my name. He started yelling at me and said “you better get to stepping before I beat your ass”.

I tried apologizing to him and he continued to threaten me and telling me to leave. Two days later I met with Arcienega at the police post in Traverse City , Mi. This was for my “voluntary interview”.

Together the officer and I went into a room and after a few questions about me, he proceeded to tell me that Christina Hoogerhyde had told him that I had molested her. Over the next hour he interrogated me and tried time after time to get me to confess to the crime in which I was accused. He kept telling me that I was nothing but a liar. He would not listen to anything I had to say. He became VERY angry with me and left to let me think about clearing my mind. About a half hour later a different officer came in. I do not remember his name just that he tried to play like he was my friend.

At this point I was very sick of dealing with these people and informed them that I had nothing more to say. The officer said “that is ok we’re done anyways”. At this point we set up a polygraph examination for February 22nd I believe. When I walked out to the lobby Trooper Arcienega told me that if I go anywhere near Christina that he has “3,000 people on his squad and that they would hunt me down”. I told him not to worry I wouldn’t.”

Josh was acquitted on all 7 counts of CSC.  However, the charges still impact his life today. Visit his website to learn his full story.

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Filed under Client Victories, Criminal Sexual Conduct, Daniel D. Ambrose, Joshua Stough, Police Brutality

Got A New IPhone? The Cops Have an App for that

Everybody seems to dig the new iPhone… even law enforcement… but not for their personal use.  Apparently the new phones capture and retain so much data, and retain it for up to a full year, that law enforcement has begun learning how to capture the personal user data off of an iPhone for use in criminal prosecutions. Sounds like a huge invasion of privacy doesn’t it?  For many people their phone or PDA is their life: a daily planner, scheduler, direction giver, personal database and source of entertainment.  All of your personal data in one place, and apparently now easily accesible to police investigators.

A July 7, 2010 Detroit Free Press article highlighted these less than obvious data caches recorded by the iPhone:

• Every time an iPhone user closes out of the built-in mapping application, the phone snaps a screenshot and stores it. Savvy law-enforcement agents armed with search warrants could use those snapshots to see if a suspect is lying about whereabouts during a crime.

• iPhone photos are embedded with GEO tags and identifying information, meaning that photos posted online might not only include GPS coordinates of where the picture was taken, but also the serial number of the phone that took it.

• Even more information is stored by the applications themselves, including the user’s browser history. That data is meant in part to direct custom-tailored advertisements to the user, but experts said that some of it could prove useful to police.

• The keyboard cache function logs everything that you type in order to learn autocorrect so that it can correct a user’s typing mistakes.

The courts have historically treated cell phones like any other easily accesible container that police can search at the time of a traffic stop in much the same way they can check things left out in the backseat or the glovebox, In 2009, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that searches of cell phone data without a warrant was going to far, and a breach of an expectation of privacy. That case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  So, for now at least, keep in mind that all of your data may be used by police in any investigation, and with an iPhone, the sources and types of data available can be far more comprehensive and extensive than what you might think.

Read the full article here

Ambrose Law Group

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Filed under Police Brutality, Social Media And The Law

Stunned Granny Sues

Still think that the police always do the right thing? That they always know what they are doing and act appropriately in any given situation?  Consider this little tidbit:

Granny Shocked by Police Stun Gun in Bed Sues
From The Detroit News

Oklahoma police apparently decided to taser an 87 year old woman hooked up to an oxygen tank and lying in her bed in her own home.  Does that sound like a reasonable use of force?

Ambrose Law Group

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Our Voice: Should Reality TV Camera Crews Film Live Home Raids?

Aiyana Jones of Detroit, who was 7 years old, was killed this past Sunday when the police were conducting a raid on her home.  During the raid, the crew of The First 48, a television reality show about cops, was filming the raid.

Some people are questioning whether the police would have used the same tactics during the raid if they were not being filmed.  Sources say that the police entered the home on a no-knock warrant, threw a flash-grenade into the house, and then burst through the door.  It is reported that simultaneously, a shot was fired that hit Aiyana in the neck and killed her.

The incident has some people wondering whether police act differently when they are being filmed.  An attorney for Aiyana’s family (who has now been replaced by Geoffrey Fieger) has blamed her death on the presence of the cameras.  She believes that if the crew had not been filming, the police would not have used a flash-grenade to enter the home where they knew children were residing, or would have entered with at least a little more care.

This raises the question: Would you do your job the same if you were being filmed for a reality T.V. show?

Should reality shows be allowed to follow and film police during live police raids and criminal events?  We would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

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Filed under Murder, Our Voice - Op/Ed, Police Brutality, Uncategorized

Our Voice: Police Power And Brutality

Officer Huggings

I used to get very frustrated when police testified in court under oath and proceeded to lie. Some are so arrogant that when you catch them in their lies they just laugh, thinking that the jury or judge just will not notice or care. The police take advantage of our inherent trust, faith, and belief that they are the good guys.

The most egregious offender of police perjury is a state trooper, his name is Jory Huggins. Back in 2002 I had four trials against him. I hated him for his lies and his arrogance. He really thought it was funny that he could lie and get away with it. Before one of the trials we were passing each other in the hall at Oakland county circuit court and we were eyeballing each other. This was our fourth trial together so we knew what to expect from each other. He says to me “don’t worry your day’s coming.” I respond “my day may be coming but your day is here.”

Our first trial together ended in a not guilty verdict. I overheard him say to the prosecutor “they must not have believed me.” I was hoping that this would impact his behavior in future trials. I was wrong.

Before the second trial Judge Small suppressed the breathalizer because Huggins lied about following the proper procedure for administering the test. His lies were so obvious, probably because he was so bold as to testify contradictory to a video tape of the administration of the test, that Judge Small called him “incredible” in her written opinion. Incredible is a nice way to say liar.

Huggin’s police car was always equipped with an in-car video that he was required to use, but never did. He consistently fabricated different lies; such as “I didn’t have a key to the trunk to put a tape in the recorder” or “the battery for my microphone was not working.” I then would F.O.I.A. the M.S.P. records and establish he was lying, again!

Our third trial resulted in a hung jury. Again Huggins testified opposite of a booking video. He testified that the defendants speech was slurred even though the sound on the video tape proved that the defendant’s speech was normal. He even checked the box “clear” as to speech in his police report.
After these trials I went through all of his transcripts and police reports. I compiled a detailed account of all of his perjuries. I sent this into the Michigan State Police. I really never expected them to do anything. But they did. It took about a year. I’m not sure what they did to him but he disappeared from the road/court for a few years.

He’s back now! Hopefully he has learned how to work his in-car camera. That’s the only protection we have from him.

Huggins saw a friend of mine at a tiger game in 2009. He told my friend that I ruined his career. I didn’t, he did. I hope he and police who are like him learned from his experience. I doubt it though! Power breeds arrogance!

You can see transcripts and video of my cross-examination of Trooper Huggins at

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Filed under Daniel D. Ambrose, Our Voice - Op/Ed, Police Brutality

Beating Video of Maryland Student Released

A few weeks back I did a post on Police Brutality , so this story from caught my eye right away.  In Prince George’s County, Maryland a police officer has been suspended, and prosectuors are investigating an incident in which officers wielding nightsticks beat John Mckenna, a University of Maryland student, to unconciousness.  A police report was filed stating the student had assualted officers and their horses, but a video that was filmed of the incident seems to contradict the report.  Here’s the video, what do you think?

From what I can see, the student was actually trying to step away from the officers. The article went on to say that Mckenna sustained a cut on his head that required 8 staples to close, plus a badly swollen arm and bruises on his body.


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Rough Justice

This headline in the Free Press caught my attention today, “Man charged with peppering Roseville police, city hall lots with nails”.

According to the article A 49-year-old Chesterfield Township man disgruntled over a traffic ticket and crash with a Roseville Police car admitted he’s been dumping screws and nails in the Roseville city hall and police department parking lots once or twice a week since late February, blowing out tires.  Police have had reports from at least five people who experienced a flat tire while in the lots. For the full article click here

This guy was obviously pretty ticked if he was driving around parking lots dumping nails out his window!  However,  if you are disgruntled with police and have a legitimate claim you should always file a formal complaint at the police department and then contact an attorney to discuss any possible lawsuits.

Now  this particular story does not seem like a case of Police Brutality, but just a guy angry about a ticket.  However, brutality does occur and we want you to know the facts. A quick definition of Police Brutality is when a police officer uses more force than neccessary ( excessive force) to either arrest or control someone , which often results in an injury to that person.

Other forms of Police Misconduct include, false arrest, police causing an accident, pulling someone over for no legal reason, searching a home , vehicle or person other than what is listed in a warrant, and searching you without permission or probable cause.

Police are paid to protect you and they should always be respected, but make sure  they respect your rights too!

Any thoughts on the Freep Article?


Filed under Police Brutality