Office of the Prosecuting Attorney
The Circuit Court Division
The Circuit Court Division handles the prosecution of felony cases. Felonies are crimes punishable by imprisonment in excess of one year, and can range in seriousness from retail fraud, bad checks, narcotics violations, criminal sexual conduct, home invasion, robbery, to murder.
A felony case originates with an Assistant Prosecutor's careful review of all investigative reports prepared by the police or investigative agency. If a case is accepted for prosecution, it then passes through the District Court system before it is bound over to the Circuit Court of Kalamazoo County where the ultimate trial and disposition will take place.
Each attorney assigned to the Circuit Court Division is assigned to a particular Circuit Court Judge. In Kalamazoo County, there are four Circuit Court judges. Each Court has a team made up of two Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys and one Victim Advocate. These team members work closely together to assure the most efficient and quality prosecution of all cases.
When a case is set for trial, it is assigned to a particular Assistant Prosecutor and it is the responsibility of that attorney to handle all court events associated with that case, until final disposition.
This system of "vertical prosecution" was begun in 1985, and allows victims and witnesses immediate access to the status of their case through the assigned attorney and victim advocate. Under this vertical system, case preparation is not repeated. Victims and witnesses know their prosecutor and their victim advocate, and may contact either of them with questions or problems. In addition, the assigned attorney is more aware of the issues of each case and what additional investigation may be necessary before trial occurs. The final result is a personal, effective approach to felony prosecution. The Circuit Court Division also handles all cases in the Appellate Courts.
The Circuit Court Division is made up of the following employees:
Jeffrey D. Williams - Division Chief
Gregory W. Russell - Special Services Division Chief
Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys
Kenneth N. Barnard
Mary Ann Berdan
Heather S. Bergmann
Chelsea C. Huber
Aubrey N. Koches
Steven M. McLaughlin
Christin J. Mehrtens-Carlin
Lindsey R. Schaller
Amy L. Sheppard