A fourth-year Oxford Schools Early College student accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, then attempting to deprive an Oakland County Sheriff’s deputy of his gun pleaded guilty to all of the criminal charges against him Nov. 21 in Oakland County Circuit Court.
Garrett Robert Brodeur, 18, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 2, 2018 in Circuit Judge Shalina Kumar’s courtroom on the charges of attempting to disarm a police officer (a felony), resisting or obstructing an officer in the discharge of his or her duty (a felony) and domestic violence, a misdemeanor.
According to Brodeur’s attorney, Kevin Laidler, there’s currently a Cobbs agreement in place under which his client is expected to be sentenced to three years of probation and given Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) status on the two felony charges.
“It’s better for everybody to do it this way,” said Laidler, who explained conducting a trial could be “such a damaging thing” to both the victim and a young man like Brodeur, who’s in need of treatment and help as he suffers from psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), which can be triggered by stress and result in blackouts.
Laidler contends that Brodeur was experiencing one or more PNES episodes when the crimes occurred and as a result, he still has no memory of the events.
A Cobbs agreement (or plea) involves a judge making an agreement with a defendant regarding the sentence the court is likely to impose if a guilty or no-contest plea is made.
Michigan’s HYTA gives offenders who are at least 17 years old, but under 24, an opportunity to keep criminal offenses off their record. In order to attain HYTA status, the judge must agree to it and a defendant must plead guilty. A no-contest plea is not an option under this law.
HYTA sentencing allows for a deferred judgment, which is not reported as a conviction to the Michigan State Police and stays out of the public record.
If an offender granted HYTA status successfully completes his or her probation, the court negates their conviction, dismisses the charges and the record remains sealed from public view.
“It’s set up so that young people, if they make mistakes, can get a second chance,” said Laidler, who noted the law is an alternative to “throwing people away just because they made a dumb decision.”
Laidler believes HYTA “should apply” to his client because “Garrett’s the kind of person who doesn’t have a (criminal) record (and) has got enough good things going for him.”
Brodeur is active in his church, participates in three sports and has a good academic record, according to his attorney.
If an offender with HYTA status violates any of the terms of his or her probation, the conviction becomes part of the public record and he or she faces potential punishment, including incarceration.
Under HYTA, Laidler said Brodeur will be given “a chance” to walk away with a clean record that won’t affect his ability to get a student loan or a job, but “he has to earn it.”
“It’s not something that’s given away freely,” the attorney said. “It’s not like it’s a get-out-of-jail-free card . . . If he screws up, then he’s got a guilty plea (on his record).”
It has not yet been determined whether the domestic violence charge against Brodeur will be subject to HYTA, according to Laidler.
The charges against Brodeur stem from events that occurred at Oxford High School on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
According to the sheriff’s office, Brodeur assaulted his ex-girlfriend in the hallway and was arrested for it.
As deputies were escorting him to the school’s front door, Brodeur began to struggle with them.
While they were attempting to subdue him, Brodeur reached for a deputy’s gun. He was able to get his fingers inside the holster and pull the trigger, firing a single round through the bottom of the holster.
The bullet ricocheted off the main office floor and lodged in a nearby interior wall. No one was injured. The gun never left the holster.
Laidler was very complimentary of how the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office has conducted itself during this case. He called the prosecutors “tough, but fair.”
“They’ve been working with us, trying to get Garrett all the help he needs,” Laidler said.
He noted the sheriff’s office and Oxford school district have also been quite cooperative.
“I was very impressed by how everybody worked together on this,” Laidler said.