2016-09-29 / Courts

Appeals Court tosses felony sentence

By Patti Brandt
Of The Enterprise staff

A Solon Township man has successfully appealed his sentence on a drug-related charge for which he is currently serving time at the Central Michigan Correctional Facility in St. Louis.

The State of Michigan Court of Appeals earlier this month held up convictions for Angelo Gutierrez, 42, but vacated his sentences.

Formerly of 6405 Allgaier Road, Gutierrez was remanded back to 13th Circuit Court for resentencing.

That court date has not yet been set.

Leelanau County Assistant Prosecutor Tristan Chamberlain said a decision had not been made on whether to appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Gutierrez was sentenced in April 2015, to four to 20 years each on two charges of delivery of a controlled substance. The prison terms were to be served concurrently. He was also ordered to serve 16 months to two years for maintaining a drug house.

In a plea agreement reached with the Prosecutor’s Office, one charge of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance had been dismissed.

However, Circuit Court Judge Philip E. Rodgers Jr. used the dismissed conspiracy charge to increase the length of Gutierrez’ sentence.

Gutierrez’ attorney, Dana B. Carron of Westland, argued otherwise, citing cases that set a precedent for not considering charges that have been dismissed when determining a sentence.

Carron had argued that the sentence for the delivery charge on its own should have been five to 23 months, Chamberlain said.

“I still think that Judge Rodgers made the correct decision and the appellate court decided incorrectly,” Chamberlain said.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, charges of using a computer to commit a crime, and a third count of delivery of a controlled substance had also been dismissed.

The charges were in connection with a Jan. 22 raid on the Solon Township home Gutierrez shared with his brother, Salvador Gutierrez, and a home in Lake Ann.

The raid netted guns, drug packaging materials and more than 100 grams of cocaine — 16 grams of which came from the Solon Township home.

The two homes were raided after an undercover officer from the Traverse Narcotics Team purchased cocaine from Gutierrez in the parking lot of Tom’s West Bay. Police also found cell phones containing evidence that Gutierrez conspired to distribute cocaine in Leelanau and surrounding counties.

Salvador Gutierrez is currently serving sentences of 32 months to 20 years for convictions of delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance, 57 months to 20 years for conspiracy to deliver/manufacture a controlled substance, and 16 months to two years for maintaining a drug house.

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