Rapid River man sentenced for sexual assault

James Greenlund

ESCANABA — Motions to withdraw his plea and adjourn sentencing for a Rapid River man, who pleaded guilty to third degree criminal sexual conduct in November, were denied Tuesday. He was subsequently sentenced to prison during a Delta County Circuit Court hearing.

James Michael Greenlund, 19, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual conduct – third degree. He was sentenced to a minimum of two years in prison and a year probation as a Holmes Youthful Trainee. Greenlund was credited for the 478 days already served in jail.

The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, commonly known as “HYTA,” allows youthful offenders facing certain criminal convictions to avoid permanent marks on their record.

Dickinson County Circuit Court Judge Mary Barglind, who has been presiding over this and three other Delta County criminal sexual conduct cases involving codefendants, noted Greenlund will be under HYTA supervision for three years. Once he successfully completes HYTA, the court will make a decision if he has to register as a sex offender.

Greenlund was originally bound over to circuit court on two criminal sexual conduct charges stemming from an incident in August 2018 in Masonville Township. One of the charges was later dropped, and Greenlund pleaded in October to a single charge of criminal sexual conduct – third degree, canceling a trial set to begin only a few days later.

Without the plea agreement, the charge against Greenlund carries a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison and lifetime sex offender registration.

“When you took it upon yourself to have sexual intercourse with her, you took away — I think — more than what you will ever understand or at least what you understand here today,” Barglind said. “You took away her innocence, you took away her ability to trust individuals in the future, in many social respects — sexual and otherwise. You traumatized her mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and those … scars from that trauma take years and years and years to start to fade, and they never disappear.”

Although Greenlund did not wish to speak during his sentencing, the victim of the sexual assault did.

During her victim’s impact statement, she noted the harassment she has faced on social media throughout the the criminal case against Greenlund and his codefendants.

“I’ve had to present my pain on a silver platter for everyone to nitpick and use against me,” she said.

Before sentencing, Greenlund’s new attorney Derek Swajanen argued a motion to withdraw his client’s plea by having Greenlund provide testimony on Greenlund’s lack of understanding of the legal system.

Greenlund spoke on his lack of understanding his rights, his plea agreement, his lack of access to evidence he requested, and the lack of communication between himself and his former attorney Antonio Ruiz.

The evidence Greenlund had requested included the discovery packet, the transcript from the preliminary examination, the search warrant for Greenlund’s cell phone, and the chain of evidence report pertaining to a DNA test for a mattress sheet.

Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark argued Greenlund was read his rights and plea agreement, and was asked if he had understood the terms under oath — which he said he had at the time of the hearing.

“The defendant wants the court to believe that he somehow misunderstood what the terms are of the plea agreement — even though they are in black and white, they are written down, and this court did an excellent job of going through not only what his rights were and the rights he was giving up, but what the sentencing parameter that was in fact on the table,” Hagaman-Clark said. “And the fact that it would be up to you (Barglind) if whether or not sex offender registry was going to be something that’d be required of him.”

Hagaman-Clark added the plea agreement was something Ruiz fought for his client and that it did not just pop up during the hearing in October.

Barglind said none of Greenlund’s arguments were sufficient enough and denied the motion to allow Greenlund to withdraw his plea. She also noted Greenlund’s testimony during Wednesday’s hearing was like a completely different person than the one who pleaded guilty and agreed to the plea agreement.

Barglind explained there was sufficient time given to him to understand his rights and the agreement, and she had explicitly told him the terms of the agreement during the hearing.

She said the other argument pertaining to the lack of access to evidence did not rise to a level that violated justice because it did not impede him from making a decision on whether or not to plea.

According to Barglind, the report pertaining to the DNA test did not exist, evidence collected from the cell phone was not used in the pre-sentencing investigation report and Greenlund was present at the preliminary examination so he could recollect what had occurred.

There was also a motion to adjourn sentencing, which was denied.

Swajanen explained the basis of his motion to adjourn sentencing was because he had yet to receive the report on the evaluations done by Daniel Forrester, a psychotherapist and certified sex therapist with Great Lakes Recovery Centers. The psychiatric evaluations were performed between the hearing in December, when Greenlund had originally been scheduled for sentencing, and Wednesday’s proceedings.

The report was not to be used for sentencing purposes and will be used during the determination of whether or not Greenlund must register as a sex offender, so Barglind denied the motion. The ruling on Greenlund’s having to register as a sex offender will be decided after he completes HYTA.

During sentencing, Greenlund was also ordered to complete sex offender treatment or other programs he is assigned to during his incarceration, his GED or another adult education program available to him, and substance abuse counseling during his incarceration.

He was ordered to pay $258 in fines and costs.


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