Thursday, November 30, 2017

More Than An Accident

A Michigan attorney has been disbarred for a felony conviction

Respondent was convicted in People of the State of Michigan v Jill Ann Tucker, 44th Circuit Court Case No. 16-023886-FH, ofthe following offenses: interference with the reporting of a crime, in violation of MCl 750.483A2B, a felony; unlawful posting of messages through electronic medium without consent, in violation of MCl 750.411 S2A, a felony; lying to a peace officer regarding a serious misdemeanor, in violation of MCl 750.479C2A, a misdemeanor; tampering with evidence, in violation of MCl 750.483A6A, a felony; failure to stop at the scene of a property accident, in violation of MCl 257.618, a misdemeanor; failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving serious personal injuries, in violation of MCl 257.617A, a misdemeanor; use of a computer to commit a crime, in violation of MCl 752.7973E, a felony; and operation of a motor vehicle in violation of a license restriction, in violation of MCl 257.312, a misdemeanor. In accordance with MCR 9.120(B)(1), respondent's license to practice law in Michigan was automatically suspended effective March 15, 2017, the date of respondent's felony convictions

The Detroit Free Press reported on the crime

A Whitmore Lake woman expressed relief Thursday that the men she injured in a hit-and-run crash survived, saying she “never had an opportunity to address the accident” until now.

Jill Ann Tucker had just learned she will spend 28 months to 10 years in prison for interfering with a crime report, tampering with evidence and using a computer to commit a crime.

Tucker, who is an attorney, also received concurrent county jail sentences for unlawful posting of a message, lying to a police officer, driving on a suspended license as well as leaving the scene of a personal property damage crash and failing to stop for a personal injury accident.

Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Rose told the court Tucker’s behavior was especially troubling because she’s a lawyer sworn to upload the law.

“There appears in this case that there were no principal of honesty or decency to others that were compelling her conduct other than nothing more than her own selfish interests,” he said.

 Defense attorney Lawrence Gadd described his client as an intelligent mother of four children who was highly successful until depression and alcohol got the better of her. He said she’s lost her family, job, law license, assets and friends.

“This is a person who has already incurred the highest penalties in life and it’s a result of depression and alcoholism,” Gadd said.

Testimony at Tucker’s March trial revealed she failed to stop for other motorists who had stopped at the intersection of M-36 and Lemen Road in Green Oak Township on June 4.

Tucker’s Dodge Ram pickup struck motorcyclist Brian Drake hard enough that it shot the motorcycle forward nearly the length of a football field. Drake went airborne, landing on his elbow and buttocks in the middle of the intersection next to a Chrysler 300.

 “This crash could have ended very differently for me,” said Drake, who suffered a bruised backside and elbow injuries.

“Looking back, it’s hard for me to believe how Miss Tucker could have known she was responsible for this crash and still fled the scene, not knowing if I or others were seriously injured or possibly dead,” he added. “Her selfish actions, both prior to and especially after the crash, have demonstrated a complete lack of regard for the well-being of the people involved and the law.”

The pickup – which Tucker purchased and insured through her then-employer, DXRacer, avoiding an interlock device on her personal vehicle for a prior drunken driving conviction – also rear-ended the Chrysler 300 hard enough to push the trunk up to the rear window.

The Chrysler driver, Donald Mayville, said he continues to feel apprehension when a motorist is behind him or tailgates.

Testimony also indicated that Tucker lied to a Green Oak Township police officer, whom she was dating and who initially investigated the crash.

Gadd took the officer and Rose to task for their handling of the case. He accused the officer of destroying evidence and participating in “some of the alleged criminal conduct.”

Gadd accused Rose of withholding evidence and providing discovery materials late. He also accused Rose of making “inappropriate accusations during the case,” which likely referenced Rose’s questioning at an earlier hearing about whether Gadd and his client were intimately involved. Gadd denied that accusation in March.

“I believe these public officials should be held to a higher standard, and I know they are going to walk away from here and high five because they won and got the defendant convicted of various offenses,” Gadd said Thursday.

Rose said Gadd’s comments reflected the defense’s position throughout the case: accusing others of wrongdoing and blaming the victim while ignoring Tucker’s criminal behavior, including allegations she broke into her estranged husband's house the day after the jury verdict and stole two rifles and two shotguns.

“The one thing you notice is missing from (Gadd’s) argument is … the people she harmed,” Rose said.

Rose said Tucker’s behavior has shown her ability to manipulate and deceive others. He called her behavior premeditated, from getting a second vehicle to avoid detection when she drank alcohol while on probation for her second drunk driving conviction to procuring a replacement bumper to hide the crash evidence, as well as leaving two injured people in the middle of an intersection.

Tucker also tore out computer cords to disable security cameras so she wouldn’t be caught returning the damaged pickup and she retaliated against the woman who placed her behind the wheel by sending naked photographs of the woman to her co-workers.

“She didn’t even do what a decent human being, even (one) making a mistake would do, and check on the two men she injured,” Rose said. “Instead, she hit the gas to save her own skin. …

“She blamed all of those around her to shift focus from her undeterred lawlessness. I don’t have to tell you she’s going to hurt someone with her criminal behavior. She’s already done that.”

Contact Livingston Daily justice reporter Lisa Roose-Church at 517-552-2846 or Follow her on Twitter @LisaRooseChurch.

(Mike Frisch)

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