Corunna man receives drug treatment after relapse, could have faced prison

Michael Daley, left, stands during his sentencing hearing Friday in 35th Circuit Court in Corunna.

CORUNNA — Michael Daley, 36, of Corunna, narrowly avoided a prison sentence for drug possession during his Friday sentencing in 35th Circuit Court.

Judge Matthew Stewart told Daley his “fate is in (his) own hands,” before sentencing the man to two years of probation and ordering him to pay court costs and fines.

The first year of Daley’s probation will be served in the county jail, and is subject to waiver as soon as an opening at an inpatient treatment center is available. Daley was not given credit for time served while awaiting sentencing, since he is currently on parole.

Daley was paroled in February after serving one year, two months in prison for 2016 safe breaking, and breaking and entering convictions.

In this case, he was charged with possession of a controlled substance (second offense) in April after a probation officer searched his residence and found meth, heroin, cocaine, paraphernalia and devices used to dilute urine for drug screens.

Daley was arraigned on the drug possession charges April 16 by 66th District Court Judge Ward Clarkson; he pleaded not guilty. Daley was free on bond until Stewart revoked his bond following an April 30 plea hearing. Daley agreed to plead guilty to one count of possession of heroin (less than 25 grams) at that hearing.

Friday, Shiawassee County Prosecutor Deana Finnegan reviewed Daley’s previous criminal history and asked the court to impose a prison term.

“This is sad,” Finnegan said. “As this court well remembers working with Mr. Daley in drug court, and that didn’t work out, what we find is he was just paroled in February and now we have this violation.

“I don’t think community sanctions are appropriate this time, because we know he cannot be safely managed in the community. He was just paroled in February, and you’re re-offending, and you pleaded, and you’re convicted and sentenced by June. It shows me that there are definite concerns for his safety,” she said.

Daley’s attorney Patrick Allen disputed the date of Daley’s parole from prison, and said Daley had been released in October 2018. Allen noted Daley had been sober until undergoing emergency surgery, and had been prescribed numerous controlled substances that caused him to begin abusing drugs again.

“I wish a lot of things,” Allen said. “Mr. Daley has been forthright… (Daley) wanted to admit what he did quickly. He didn’t want the county or court to spend any more time or money on this file… He understands he has a substance abuse problem… Whatever the court does, he’s going to hit the street again. I think he can be a productive member of society when he tackles his substance abuse problems. I have no doubts.”

Daley claimed he hadn’t been using until the surgery, but Stewart was skeptical.

“I have been a productive member of society… I had no (positive urine tests),” he said. “I ended up having a major surgery and a full splenectomy…”

“Don’t tell me you didn’t have any dirty drops when your probation agent found a device to adulterate your urine in your house,” Stewart said.

“I did have a major surgery and hernia surgery and that’s why I relapsed,” Daley said.

“Well how do we help you?” Stewart asked. “I remember in 2016 you had a breaking and entering and safe breaking. Instead of sentencing you to prison, we put you in drug court. It was brand-new, just started. We just got you out of treatment and you went on a three-day bender and assaulted a relative. We sent you out of the program and off to prison, you got out and it looks like you were doing OK for a while.

“All of a sudden, you’re off the rails, rolling around on the floor of the town pub and acting erratic. You lost your job and an agent goes to your house and finds cocaine, meth, heroin and paraphernalia for use of all those drugs… When you’re not using and you’re not angry, you’re a nice guy. What’s the remedy? How do you get fixed?” he asked.

Daley told Stewart he attended inpatient treatment.

“I can talk to you until I’m blue in the face,” Daley said. “I can’t say anything that’s going to change your mind. I have to do what I have to do. I really don’t know what to say about it. I know I messed up and I take responsibility for it.”

“When you had that surgery, were you given controlled substances?” Stewart asked.

“They gave me fentanyl, Norco (hydrocodone) and Delantin (phenytoin),” Daley said.

“That’ll do it,” Stewart said. “That will relapse.”

“As soon as that was gone, I was right back out there,” Daley said. “They were aware of my substance abuse. I was up front with them. But the pain was too much.”

“I understand now why he relapsed,” Finnegan said. “Maybe the Department of Corrections isn’t the answer. Mike, I say this because I worry about you. You’ve got to get a hold of this before you kill yourself. I don’t have a problem with sending him back to (inpatient treatment).”

“We’ve seen this before,” Stewart said. “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’ll place you on probation… If you walk away from treatment or cause any problems, if I get word from House of Commons that you’re a problem, I will violate you and send you to prison. Do you understand? Zero tolerance. Your fate is in your own hands with your own decisions.”

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