Muskegon County Family Court Judge Annette Smedley sentenced Terry Nolan, 55, to six months in jail and four years probation for use of cocaine, second or subsequent event. Nolan was also ordered to pay $663 in fines and costs.
Smedley split up the jail sentence, requiring Nolan to serve one month in jail immediately. The remaining five months of the jail sentence will be on tether — the same as incarceration, only "a little more comfortable," the judge said.
The case landed in the newest Muskegon County judge’s lap after all of the other 14th Circuit Court judges recused themselves because they had worked with Nolan for many years.
The case was also handled by the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office, although local prosecuting attorney Raymond Kostrzewa appeared at the sentencing.
At Nolan’s request, Smedley gave him until 6 p.m. today to get his affairs in order before reporting to jail.
Smedley also said Nolan’s driver’s license is suspended, which is mandatory in a narcotics conviction.
Nolan faced a penalty of up to two years in prison because of his habitual offender status. His history of drug charges include a 1991 conviction for use of cocaine, a 2002 conviction for possession of cocaine less than 25 grams, a 2003 conviction for use of cocaine and the current conviction for use of cocaine.
Nolan's attorney, Ed Anderson, said afterward that the sentence was fair.
“He’s a lot further along on recovery than he was the last time,” Anderson said. “He was a mess last time.”
While handing down the sentence, Smedley noted there has been no violence in Nolan's criminal history and that he has done well while on probation.
“You’re not robbing houses. You’re not holding up people or stores or banks,” the judge said to him.
Smedley said she was sentencing Nolan to the extended probation based on a pre-sentence recommendation and because the attorney did better under the structure of probation.
Nolan had just come off probation when he was arrested Feb. 26 at a Muskegon County home that was searched following a traffic stop.
The attorney's license to practice law has been suspended since the arrest. Now that he has been sentenced, the State Bar Association will consider what to do with his law license. Previously, Anderson said he believed Nolan’s license would be suspended, as opposed to the more severe penalty of being disbarred.
Nolan apologized to and thanked his clients, staff, family and people in the court system, as well as his recovery network — several of which appeared in the courtroom on his behalf.
“I stand here willing to accept responsibility for what I have done,” he said.
Smedley said it is important to look at rehabilitation for people dealing with addictions.
“It’s going to be a hard road,” she told Nolan. “I wish you luck.”