LIVINGSTON COUNTY, MI – A Democratic state representative whose DUI case from April was recently compounded with two new felony charges for allegedly sneaking in a universal handcuff key into jail after the revocation of his bond, the Michigan House speaker has since stripped Rep. Jewell Jones of his committee assignments regarding the legal saga.
Michigan State Rep. Jewell Jones was removed from all Michigan House committee assignments. https://t.co/5aEL1iuH9g
— Local 4 WDIV Detroit (@Local4News) September 16, 2021
Rep. Jones, the 26-year-old who was elected to his third term last year representing Michigan’s 11th district, was by all means poised to be a rising star within the Democratic party in the state of Michigan.
At the age of 20, he was the youngest person in Michigan history to be sworn into the Inkster City Council.
Come 2016, and Rep. Jones made history again when at 21 he was the youngest person to ever be elected as a representative in the state.
But 2021 has not been a good year for Rep. Jones.
It all started in April when he was arrested for a DUI where his conduct during the arrest managed to draw national attention, namely due to him allegedly resisting arrest and bodycam footage from inside the jail during his processing where he continued to invoke Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s name.
Rep. Jones’ bond was revoked earlier in September for allegedly violating the terms of his bond multiple times regarding his April case – but his legal troubles grew immensely while being booked into the jail after the bond revocation.
While being process into the jail earlier in September, Rep. Jones was allegedly found in possession of a universal handcuff key, taped to the bottom of his foot.
Said incident resulted in him being charged with two additional felonies: introducing a weapon into a jail and escape.
— The Hill (@thehill) September 17, 2021
On September 16th, one day after Rep. Jones was charged with the two additional felonies, Republican Michigan House Speaker Jason Wentworth announced that Rep. Jones would be stripped of all his committee assignments.
“Rep. Jewell Jones’s increasingly disruptive and distracting behavior in the months following his April arrest has eroded my confidence in his ability to conduct the people’s work.”
Speaker Wentworth went on to add that Rep. Jones’ most recent charges have shown that the young representative has “hit a new low” with his alleged “bizarre attempt to escape from jail”:
“Action must be taken to protect the public’s interest. I am now removing Rep. Jones from all House committees and encouraging him to use that time to make changes and take control of his actions.”
Rep. Jones’ lawyer Ali Hammoud withdrew from the representative’s legal team following the latest charges.
Bryan Nolen, who has served as co-counsel on Rep. Jones’ legal team, requested that a mental health evaluation be administered prior to going to trial.
Livingston County Circuit Judge Michael Hatty granted the request for the evaluation and adjourned the case until October. Nolan, who was formerly the mayor of Inkster, claims that he’s known Rep. Jones for quite some time and that his alleged actions throughout 2021 are out of character:
“I have known him for a long time. And I know there is somewhat of a change recently, and I want to find out what’s really going on.”
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We at Law Enforcement Today previously reported on the legal saga that led up to Rep. Jones’ stripping of committee assignments. Here’s our previous report from earlier in September.
LIVINGSTON COUNTY, MI – Democratic state Rep. Jewell Jones was taken into custody on September 14th after a judge revoked his bond for Rep. Jones allegedly violating the terms of his bond multiple times in a pending DUI case.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 15, 2021
One of the easiest ways to stay out of jail while on bond and a court case works through the system is for one to abide by the terms laid out for their release on bond, and apparently Michigan state Rep. Jones could not do that.
Reportedly 26-year-old Rep. Jones had violated the terms of his bond three times, and Livingston County Circuit Judge Michael Hatty decided that was the last straw.
Rep. Jones was arrested earlier in 2021 on April 6th after his Chevy Tahoe weaved in and out of lanes on Interstate 96 and he reportedly pulled off into a ditch. Michigan State Police reports regarding his arrest noted that his blood alcohol content (BAC) registered at 0.19 at the time of his arrest – over twice the legal limit of 0.08.
And apparently his arrest did not go swimmingly either, as Rep. Jones allegedly tried invoking a power play when police were taking him into custody in April. He allegedly told arresting officers that this was “not going to be good for you” and that he would “call Governor Whitmer right now.”
Rep. Jones apparently resisted arrest during the incident, where police had to both tase and pepper spray him in order for him to comply.
It gets worse before it gets better, as Rep. Jones continued to invoke Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s name during his arrest and booking process, according to reports. While inside of the jail, with bodycam footage showing the interaction, he kept insisting that officers needed to call Governor Whitmer, saying “big Gretch is the homie”:
“You know what? Big Gretch is the homie. When she finds out about this, she might be a little upset about the treatment. She’s very serious about the pandemic so I’m just wondering if I can wear the mask.”
This interaction inside of the jail came when jail deputies were trying to take his booking photo and he was insisting that he needed to have a face covering on when having his booking photo taken.
Rep. Jones proclaimed that Governor Whitmer said that face coverings needed to be worn in jail booking photos – which a deputy informed him that was not the case at all.
Outside of the ridiculous behavior during Rep. Jones’ arrest and booking into jail, apparently, he couldn’t keep himself from drinking alcohol while out on bond – which was one of the conditions of his bail.
Rep. Jones reportedly had alcohol register in his system on three different times on September 3rd, which was registered by a tether he was fitted with. On top of that, the tether Rep. Jones was fitted with was also allegedly tampered with on September 6th.
During a September 14th court appearance over Rep. Jones alleged bond violations, assistant prosecutor Christina Richards had the following to say about the mater:
“This defendant’s actions — from his conduct during the charged crimes through each of the three bond violations — show that he believes that, as a person who writes our laws, that he is above our laws. There is also a very strong public perception that the defendant is getting special treatment because of his position.”
Judge Hatty, who noted his partiality to keeping suspects out on bond was apparently persuaded by the assistant prosecutor, ordering Rep. Jones to be jailed during the hearing:
“I am one to believe in graduated sanctions and not jailing this man until sentencing, but I am going to revoke bond at this time.”
And the saga gets worse from there, as when Rep. Jones was brought into jail – he allegedly tried sneaking a handcuff key into the jail. Livingston County Sheriff Michael Murphy spoke about the incident, saying the following:
“You know what? This guy is an embarrassment to elected officials, frankly. I mean, all these are allegations, there’s no question he’s not been convicted of anything – but, you know, c’mon – there’s not this much smoke around anybody else. And I truly believe he thinks the rules don’t apply to him.”
The Michigan lawmaker was allegedly found with a universal handcuff key taped to the bottom of his foot while being booked into the jail following the revocation of his bond.
Rep. Jones has since been charged with two additional felonies on September 15th, which were introducing a weapon into a jail and escape.
As if Rep. Jones wasn’t already facing some time with the alleged DUI incident, he could face up to five years for one of the new felony charges and four years for the other.
During Rep. Jones September 15th arraignment under his two newest charges, he entered a plea of not guilty and bond was set for $100,000 for the latest charges – but the bond from his previous charges still remains revoked.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Carolyn Henry said during the September 15th hearing that Rep. Jones shows a “total disregard for public safety”:
“Clearly this defendant has shown through his actions, through his decisions, through his choices, he has a total disregard to follow court orders, to conform his behaviors to the law, and he has a total disregard for public safety.”
Sheriff Murphy stressed in a statement the dangers associated with introducing a handcuff key into the jail:
“This guy is a real piece of work, and an embarrassment to all elected officials, and I believe he thinks somehow the laws do not apply to him. More than that, I am mad. Had the handcuff key ended in an injury to my staff or another inmate I am not sure what I would have done, as my primary responsibility is the safety and security of my staff and inmates.”
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