Repercussions of attorney's arrest

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:17 PM

Terry Nolan, 55, was arraigned Thursday in Ottawa County District Court in Holland on a charge of use of cocaine, double penalty.

Use of cocaine is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. It turns into a two-year high-court misdemeanor — the double penalty addition — because Nolan has a previous drug conviction.

The increased charge is treated as a felony in Michigan, Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson explained.

Bond for Nolan was set at $3,500.

The next court date had not been set as of late Thursday afternoon.

The West Michigan Enforcement Team arrested Nolan early Wednesday morning in Muskegon, Hilson said. Nolan was lodged in the Ottawa County Jail until his arraignment on Thursday.

“He was arrested after a traffic stop that led to a search of a house,” Hilson said. “Mr. Nolan was found in it. He was subsequently arrested.”

Ottawa County District Judge Susan Jonas is handling Nolan’s case because all of the Muskegon County judges disqualified themselves, explained regional state court administrator Jim Hughes.

“One of the judges is a brother to the defendant,” Hughes said.

Nolan's case remains a Muskegon County case and could return to that county at the circuit court level, Hughes said. If the circuit judges disqualify themselves, then the case would again be assigned to another county.

Nolan previously lost his license to practice law because of drug-related convictions in the 1990s and early 2000s. He was able to get his law license back in 2009.

Hilson said he’s been in contact with the Attorney Grievance Commission and requested Nolan’s license be suspended during the processing of this case.

“I believe it will affect his license,” Hilson said.

In the meantime, associate attorneys of Nolan Law Offices PLLC say they will do their best to handle all of Nolan’s cases.

“We are open for business. We are still here,” associate attorney Matthew Kacel said.

Kacel said they were “shocked and deeply saddened" after receiving the news of Nolan’s arrest.

"Terry was a friend and mentor to both (Kevin) Wistrom and I, and we were both proud to see him overcome the struggle of addiction and return to the practice of law," Kacel said.

Kacel and Wistrom said clients of the Nolan firm and their families who have questions or concerns about their cases are encouraged to call the office.

Two high-profile cases being handled by Nolan include the Anthony Casanova and Steven Paul Spencer cases.

Casanova, of Norton Shores, was charged with open murder in the Jan. 4 death of his 10-week-old son. The court case is pending a competency examination of Casanova.

Spencer, of Ravenna, was charged with operating a car under the influence of alcohol or drugs, causing death. Police said he crashed head-on into a car on June 16, 2012, killing the other driver, Grand Haven Township resident John Shumaker.

Spencer’s trial is scheduled to begin March 12, and Kacel said it is still on the agenda.

John Shumaker's widow, Amanda Shumaker, said it’s "heartbreaking" to think that Spencer's trial could be delayed a second time.

“We’re all just kind of at a loss right now,” she said. “I’m hoping that it goes still.”

Shumaker said getting the trial over with would bring some form of closure to put “some of this behind us.”

Shumaker said she and her daughters, Madison and Kaitlynn, have both good and bad days since John's death.

“The Daddy/Daughter Dance was a big thing we just went through,” Shumaker said. “Friends stepped in to help. ... We’re taking it day by day."

Recommended for You