Original Case Details
As detailed in a previous blog, former Grand Traverse County Jail Administrator Todd Ritter is facing multiple allegations relating to inappropriate relationships with current and former female jail inmates. Investigations into Ritter uncovered explicit text messages and photographs involving female inmates of the Grand Traverse County Jail. He is also accused of misappropriating funds by allegedly taking a female inmate to a Lansing hotel and expensing the hotel room to Grand Traverse County. Other accusations include stealing drug test kits and keeping certain female prisoners past their sentences for personal satisfaction. As an overall maximum, Ritter is facing up to 15 years in prison based on his current criminal charges. A listing of Ritter’s criminal charges and potential penalties are listed below.
Criminal Charges and Penalties
Former Jail Administrator Todd Ritter was arraigned in the 86th District Court in front of Magistrate Tammi Rodgers for both felony and misdemeanor charges as listed below:
• Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct: Felony: Carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison. A conviction will also result in the requirement to register as a sex offender and face electronic monitoring.
• Embezzlement by a Public Official over $50: Felony: Carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $5,000.
• Misconduct in Office: Felony: Carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $10,000. This is a common law rule that applies to misconduct that is not expressly covered in a Michigan statute.
• Larceny in a Building: Felony: Carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in prison.
• Willful Neglect of Duty: Misdemeanor: Carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in county jail and a maximum fine of up to $1,000.
Due to multiple conflicts of interest, the case is not being tried by local Grand Traverse County prosecutors. The Michigan Attorney General’s office is prosecuting the case against Ritter. Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark is the prosecutor representing the people in this case.
Current Case Status
As discussed in our prior blog about this case, Ritter’s first major court date after his arraignment was the preliminary examination. A preliminary examination is a hearing which requires the prosecutor to prove both probable cause that a crime was committed, and probable cause that the defendant committed the crime alleged. If a prosecutor can’t prove probable cause, then the case could be dismissed. If a prosecutor satisfies a judge that probable cause exists, then the case gets bound over and sent to the circuit court for further proceedings and potential eventual trial. This can be accomplished either by conducting an actual hearing and calling witnesses to testify, or by an agreement to waive the exam and allow the case to continue to the appropriate circuit court.
In Ritter’s case, he agreed to waive his right to a preliminary exam hearing and allowed his case to continue forward to the Grand Traverse County Circuit Court. It has been made known that Ritter is now considering a plea offer made by the Attorney General. Ritter appeared for a pretrial hearing and both the Attorney General and Ritter’s court-appointed counsel agreed to a two-week adjournment so Ritter can consider the plea offer to potentially resolve the case without a trial. He has until December 4th, 2020 to consider the plea offer and remains scheduled for a jury trial in mid-January.
Why a Plea Might Be Beneficial
A major reason why people accused of crimes seek plea deals is due the desire for finality that a plea deal can bring. A plea deal can be the beginning of the end of a surely traumatic experience in being charged with a criminal offense. In some cases, there are additional guarantees that come with a plea deal such as a promise of no jail time or certain charges being dismissed. The current case involves a number of sensitive and explosive issues. If a deal can be reached that satisfies all of the parties involved, then a plea deal might be beneficial in this case. If a plea deal is reached, then Ritter will have determined that this is the best option for him and his case going forward. The specific terms of the Attorney General’s offer were not made public, so this information may be revealed at Ritter’s next court date if he does in fact accept the state’s offer.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
At Grabel & Associates, we bring over 100 years of combined experience in defending people against criminal charges across the state of Michigan. Call us today for a free consultation at 1-800-342-7896.