State appeals Hall's reduced charges

An election forgery case against a Grand Haven man is on hold while the state Attorney General’s Office appeals the recently downgraded charges.
Becky Vargo
Nov 14, 2013

Brandon Michael Hall, 23, currently faces up to a $500 fine and/or up to 93 days in jail if convicted of 10 counts of election forgery at the misdemeanor level.

Hall was originally charged at the felony level after authorities determined he forged signatures on several nominating petitions for 2012 judicial candidate Chris Houghtaling. With the signatures invalidated, Houghtaling did not have enough signatures to run for district judge in Ottawa County and his name was removed from the ballot.

If convicted at the felony level, Hall could face up to five years in prison.

Hall’s attorney, Donald Hann, made a motion in Ottawa County District Court to reduce the charges to the misdemeanor level, noting that the petition says that anyone signing a false name is guilty of a misdemeanor, not a felony.

Holland District Judge Bradley Knoll ruled in Hall's favor and denied binding him over to Circuit Court, based on an opinion he released last month. The judge also changed Hall’s bond, allowing him to leave the state unless he is scheduled to appear in court.

The Attorney General’s Office filed an appeal on Oct. 31, according to court records. Joy Yearout, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, said they are now waiting for transcripts from Hall's preliminary exam in District Court.

“After that, we will file a brief in Ottawa County Circuit Court and then wait for a hearing to be set,” she said.

A motion to stay proceedings was granted Nov. 7. Yearout said that means the proceedings at the District Court level are on hold pending a decision on the appeal.

“We disagree with the decision to reduce the charge to misdemeanors, because we believe felonies are appropriate,” she said.

Hall disagrees.

"The attorney general is appealing Judge Knoll's ruling even though the law is crystal clear, subsequently costing taxpayers thousands of dollars,” he said.

Comments

lady1983

Perhaps if you had been concerned with the taxpayers to begin with, and what laws are "crystal clear" we wouldn't be in this position.

bigdeal

He's a Republican, he knows 'crystal clear' can be changed in a midnight lamedog session.

OU812

This kid is a like a sticky b-o-o-g-e-r... he just doesn't go away.

Truth Be Told

Hall tried to screw "we the people".
Hall did his best to circumvent OUR civil rights!
Lock him away and ban him from ever serving in a public office.
He can't be trusted.

The world needs ditch diggers too...

Just_saying51

AGREE 100 %

polarize

"The world needs ditch diggers too" -- Excellent quote from Caddyshack. Lol.

I guess not knowing the full story unless it's in the print edition would lead me to suspect that the state attorney general better have a really good case for this to be upgraded to a felony when the law clearly states on the petition that it is a misdemeanor. I'm not sticking up for Brandon Hall's actions but he is entitled to a fair trial just like any other accused citizen. Personally I think a little jail time might do him some good in the interest of rehabilitation but mob mentality and media hysteria is never the solution.

ruserious

With no intent to be argumentative; did you read the article? Brandon was charged with a felony, the local court downgraded that to a misdemeanor, and the State Attorney General’s Office is taking exception to the local judge's decision and wants the original felony charge reinstated. They won't have any problem upgrading this, the local judge (Knoll) over stepped his boundaries and this is the correction. This was, and is, a felony charge, he will be tried, and then convicted if found guilty, which we all know he is, and sent to prison where he belongs.

polarize

You are correct that he was originally charged with a felony. There must be some room for judicial discretion and I won't go as far to say Judge Knoll overstepped his boundaries. It could be that he is calling it how he sees it under the law and if the state attorney general's office disagrees that is fine and within their ability to appeal with or without success.

In the end, whatever happens should be according correct judicial process and that is fair no matter who is on trial and for what.

I also agree with you that he should likely get jail or prison time but media hysteria and mob mentality will not afford him a fair trial. Judge Knoll's decision will not favor or hinder what the outcome should be. Thank you for your comments and I appreciate your opinion.

Harry Kovaire

He has all of the qualifications and relevant experience for a position in the current White House.

bigdeal

He's a Republican, but you are right about his qualifications for a being a Republican in any office...

horst

OH, he qualifies as a Democrap too....his slimeball antics would work great in DETROIT and Democrap controlled Washington.

bigdeal

Wishful thinking on the Teaparty wagon here horst, and nice misdirecting his party affiliations. But the point is, he is a Republican through and through now isn't he? Check his tweeter account.

Republican is as Republican does. (regrets to Forrest Gump)

Just_saying51

Well that is for sure Harry Kovaire, especailly if the slimy little well you know gets off without a felony and just a slap on the wrist ! Wonder whose pants he has in hand down little crooked creep

Cinnabon119

He needs a felony charge so he can never run for office. A misdemeanor wil allow it. This is his second criminal charge now. No more breaks.

Waverider

Both Houghtaling and Hall should be banned from running for public office.

bahlc08

Perhaps someone should investigate Chris Houghtaling a litte closer.
Believe me he is no angel. He had to know what was going on the whole time. He had to get over 650 signatures or more by Monday and did not have even close on Saturday. Gotta wonder.

PranaPuppy

@bahlc08 - Too funny! We all know from a past Tribune article that Chris Houghtaling's ex-wife has a first initial of "C" and remarried in '08 to a man with the last name of Bahl. Given your username, you can't expect anyone to take you or your comments seriously.

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