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Niles man sentenced to 240 days in jail for growing pot

Published 6:35pm Friday, November 18, 2011

CASSOPOLIS — Steven Kelems, 29, of 33471 Bell St., Niles, received 240 days in jail Friday in Cass County Circuit Court for growing marijuana.
Kelems pleaded guilty Sept. 28 to manufacturing marijuana, second offense, on Aug. 10.
Prosecutor Victor Fitz said the defendant began using marijuana at 18 and in 2008 drew a year in the county jail, but “he hasn’t gotten the message and he has left a trail of tears” as a “drug dealer,” though defense attorney Sean Drew said marijuana authorities seized was for Kelems’ personal use.
Fitz further suggested that Kelems, despite a college education and working hard at a great job in Elkhart, Ind., keeps one foot firmly planted in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”
Kelems, apologizing to his parents, said he made some poor decisions and has tried to move forward.
Circuit Judge Michael Dodge said Kelems’ priors include one felony and eight misdemeanors and he lacks a medical marijuana card.
“That’s not a smart thing to do for an intelligent, college-educated guy. It’s a habit you’ve got to give up,” the judge said, disagreeing with the prosecutor that it warranted prison.
Besides jail, Kelems must pay $500 court costs and a $500 fine among other assessments and have his driver’s license suspended for a year.

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