A Ludington man, who was before 51st Circuit Court Judge Susan J. Sniegowski Tuesday to be sentenced, apologized for his crimes and told her that he would “not screw up again.”
Donnie Ray Totten III, 25, speaking from the Mason County Jail where he has been housed, told the judge he was ready to do what he had to do to get his life straightened around and take care of his kids.
“You won’t see me again judge,” Totten said.
The court’s proceedings were conducted via Zoom video-conferencing Tuesday.
Totten was charged with resisting and opposing a police officer and assault and battery, to which he had previously pleaded guilty to. A second charge of resisting and obstructing a police officer was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Judge Sniegowski sentenced Totten to one year of probation and 12 months in jail, with 170 days of the term to be served now. He was given credit for 170 days already served. The rest of the jail time will be served at the court’s discretion. He was ordered to pay $723 in fines, costs, restitution and other court fees.
He was also charged with a probation violation after he did not show up at a previously scheduled sentencing hearing.
On that charge, the judge sentenced him to a concurrent term of 90 days in jail and he was given credit for 90 days already served. Judge Sniegowski said there was no request from the Michigan Department of Corrections for discretionary jail time on the probation violation, so none was ordered.
Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola argued that because he believed Totten absconded for some time that Totten should serve additional jail time of eight months. He noted that the guidelines in the case were for two to 25 months of incarceration.
“I’m also concerned because he has a transit lifestyle,” Spaniola continued. “Not only in his housing situation, but in his employment history as well.
“Mr. Totten, it’s time for you to think about whether you are going to remain in the clutches of the Department of Corrections, or if you are going to put these matters behind you and lead a responsible life.
“At 25 you are at a crossroads in your life,” he added. “You have been on probation for eight years of your life. It’s time to stop.”
Defense attorney Doug Stevenson asked the judge to follow the plea agreement.
“He has kept in touch with me,” Stevenson said. “I’d hear from him every two to three weeks while he was gone.”
Stevenson said however, that if the judge felt he needed to serve additional jail time he would understand.
“I feel that Donnie is realizing that he needs to follow through with what he says he’s going to do,” Stevenson said. “He knows that he’s not going to get any other chances. He knows if he gets in trouble again he won’t get a break.
“He told me he’s anxious to get a job so he can start taking care of his kids.”