In a rare occurrence this morning in the 33rd Circuit Court, Justin Raymond Stolt, 27, of Boyne City entered a guilty plea as charged immediately after a jury had been selected for the trial of his case. Stolt pleaded guilty to possession of buprenorphine, a schedule 3 controlled substance.
He has a prior drug conviction and therefore, the maximum sentence is increased to four years in prison on the charge. Unlawful possession of a schedule 3 controlled substance usually carries a two-year maximum.
“It was a little different, we had one defendant plead guilty just prior to jury selection a few years back, but this one was after selection,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “As Judge (Roy C.) Hayes told the jurors, a defendant has the right to plead guilty as charged at any point in the proceedings. Ultimately it is the same result as if he was convicted after the trial.”
Stolt was stopped in Boyne City on July 17, 2017 on an outstanding warrant. Police searched Stolt’s backpack and found a baggie containing a syringe, spoon, cotton balls and what appeared to be drug residue.
Testing confirmed that the substance was buprenorphine which is a controlled substance found in Suboxone, a drug used to help people with heroin addictions. Stolt did not have a prescription for the drug.
“I want to thank the jurors and all of the prospective jurors for their service,” Telgenhof said. “If it weren’t for their service, we would not have gotten the guilty plea. Also I want to commend the Boyne City Police Department, especially the officer in charge, Christie Hoenicke, for her work on the case as well as the Michigan State Police Crime Laboratory.
Stolt will be sentenced on December 1, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.