Inkster Rep. Jewell Jones rejects plea deal, will be back in court Friday

Inkster Rep. Jewell Jones has rejected a deal that would require the lawmaker to plead guilty to four misdemeanors and two felonies in exchange for having the rest of his charges tied to a drunken driving incident earlier this year dismissed. 

Jones' attorney Byron Nolen confirmed the lawmaker rejected the deal and said they plan to be back in court on Friday.

The agreement would have required Jones to plead guilty to counts of resisting and obstructing police, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, possessing a weapon while intoxicated, reckless driving, and escape of lawful custody. 

In exchange, resisting arrest and DUI charges would have been dropped. The deal would have also allowed Jones to reduce his felony charges to dismissals if he completed a youth sentencing program.

The deal was originally offered after Jones was released from jail in November and had his bond reinstated. The 26-year-old Democrat has been in and out of jail after violating the conditions of his bond following his arrest in April.

He was originally taken into custody after reports of a van driving erratically on I-96 in Livingston County. Dashcam footage of the incident showed Jones being wrestled to the ground after refusing to cooperate with police. 

Following this third bond violation, Jones was ordered to stay in jail by a judge. After police noticed he had taped a handcuff key to his foot, Jones was ordered to receive a mental health examination in September.

"We believe the whole case should be dismissed because the arrest of Representative Jones was illegal in the first place," said Byron Nolen.

Nolen is Jones' attorney he says they've rejected the deal offered by the prosecutor - that Jones plead guilty to four misdemeanors, and two felonies for resisting arrest as well as write a letter of apology to the troopers.

Instead - they will take their chances in court.

"My client really would like to get his motion to dismiss heard - obviously if we prevail on the motion to dismiss, the whole case goes away," he said.

So they'll be back before a judge on Friday - asking that the case be dismissed and evidence of Jones' blood alcohol level of .19 be suppressed.

Nolen is arguing that when troopers arrived that day, they found Jones standing behind an ambulance while his female friend was being treated inside - and troopers had no probable cause to believe he was driving - no reason to demand his driver's license.

"Because my client didn't produce his driver's license, they decided to arrest him - of course there was a  whole tussel, take down - my client was maced - my client was tased three times - but - did they have the authority to arrest him at that time?" Nolen said.

"You can't arrest someone for resisting arrest - you have to have an underlying reason to arrest them

Nolen admits it's been a bizarre case - Jones threatened to call the governor during his arrest. He violated his bond a few times and then was charged with more crimes after allegedly bringing a handcuff key into the jail - taped to his shoe.

"People don't do that - that's something you see in the movie," he said. "Hopefully at the time of trial we will get to the bottom on that -because that is bizarre - I must admit."

But that is a different case altogether. For now - Jones is out of jail - working as a state representative, living under supervision, with a 9 p.m. curfew and is in therapy for alcohol and mental health issues.

"He has a year left on his term, and hopefully he can complete that successfully - and do something good for the people he represents," Nolen said.

The attorney says if their case goes to trial and they don't win - he anticipates Jones would be sentenced to probation.

"However the case goes - I want him to be okay as a human and come back from this and be stronger and a better person," he said.