Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Loses Supreme Court Appeal in High-Profile Case

Funny what a difference a headline can make. Upnorthlive reported the same story with the headline: “Convicted murderer of Traverse City teen to be sentenced for fourth time.”

This is the Robert Schwander homicide case. The Upnorthlive article only says that the case is about to be back in court for the fourth sentencing. Here’s what they left out:

  1. At the first sentencing, the 13th Circuit Court Judge didn’t follow the sentencing guidelines.
  2. The defendant appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals. The defendant won.
  3. At the second¬†sentencing, the 13th Circuit Court Judge didn’t follow the sentencing guidelines.
  4. The defendant appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals. The defendant won.
  5. At the third sentencing,¬† the 13th Circuit Court Judge didn’t follow the sentencing guidelines.
  6. The defendant appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals. The defendant won.
  7. The Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Office appealed the Court of Appeals ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court. The Grand Traverse County Prosecutor’s Office lost that appeal. The defendant won.

The crux of the matter is that the 13th Circuit Court judges keep giving Schwander a sentence for first-degree homicide when he was convicted of second-degree homicide. It’s local people in power thinking that they know better than laws and rules. In other words, it’s our running theme. So far, Schwander has managed to get justice from higher ups and outsiders. Not everyone does.

These rounds of appeals, in this case, have been going on for five years. Despite what the prosecutor’s office would have you believe, this is not the defendant stringing it out. In fact, just the opposite. It’s the prosecutor’s office that filed the Supreme Court appeal. In addition, it’s the 13th Circuit Court that has failed to sentence appropriately three times running. It’s the Court of Appeals saying over and over again, “Do it the right way,” and the 13th Circuit Court and the prosecutor’s office collectively saying, “Nah.”

All eyes will be on Judge Elsenheimer as he hears the Schwander sentencing 4.0. You can almost hear the exasperation in the latest Court of Appeals opinion. I predict that if Elsenheimer doesn’t come down in the sentencing they will remand it to another circuit court.

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4 thoughts on “Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Loses Supreme Court Appeal in High-Profile Case”

  1. How much has this incessant and nearly limitless pursuit of an unjustly harsh sentence cost?

  2. Exactly what we all would like to know–how much is she costing the taxpayers with her relentless “I must not be defeated” attitude? She (they)refuses to prosecute the soferdines and other law enforcement people who commit CRIMES, but wont ever just do the right thing with citizens. This guy is not going anywhere anytime soon, why keep wasting OUR money?

  3. Our family is one of the ones that the higher-ups didn’t decide to correct the injustice for. The collateral damage has been indescribable. Even when we analyze court records, they went above and beyond “typical” for our awful court to punish us – for what? Because we spoke up for our family? Because we had others speak up for our family? Because it would have sullied the “tough on crime” myth our PA perpetuates? Who knows. I’d like to know why we were so unworthy of help.

    I hope the judge can get sentencing right for Schwander this time around. Surely the yo-yo back and forth isn’t doing him any good, it’s probably toying with the emotions of the victim’s family in a terrible way, and it’s costing our county a lot of money.

  4. It’s a shame the citizens can’t band together and oust the wretched Judges and prosecutors that are littered around northern Michigan. A grotesque group of power hungry, overzealous know it alls. But you all elect these creeps again and again!!! There needs to be a movement. Not even just up in Traverse City, it’s a lot of other places too– but it’s particularly bad in TC area.

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