Judge gives probation, tether for domestic incident

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Cass County man will spend the next few years on probation after choking his wife during a heated argument.

Terry Robison

Terry Robison

Judge Michael Dodge sentenced 42-year-old Terry Lane Robison, of Vandalia, to two years of probation on charges of domestic violence and attempted assault with a dangerous weapon during his appearance in Cass County court Friday morning. The judge also ordered the man to be placed on a Michigan Department of Corrections tether for 122 days, with credit for the two days already served in jail.

Robison pleaded guilty to the crimes during an earlier appearance in court Feb. 5.

The violence between Robison and his wife, Sandy Robison, occurred on Nov. 2 at their residence on Water Street in Vandalia. The two were allegedly having an argument about infidelity when the man began to choke her before grabbing a hammer and threatening to “bash [her] head in,” Dodge said.

At that point, the woman fled the home and traveled to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, where she reported the fight. Robison went to the police building later to present his side of the argument.

“I understand there’s going to be arguing, there’s going to be stress in marriages, there’s going to be disagreements,” Dodge said. “But it does not justify resorting to violence.”

Robison has an extensive history of domestic violence, with three misdemeanor charges on his record for the crime, as well as a conviction for assault and battery, Dodge said.

“I don’t know if they all involve the same victim, your wife, or not, but that track record is not a good one and not one you should be proud of,” Dodge said. “It indicates that clearly, when you get upset, you have difficulty controlling that anger and it results in some kind of assaultive conduct.”

Assistant Prosecutor Tiffiny Vohwinkle argued that the defendant be sentenced toward the top of his recommended guidelines due to the violent nature of the incident. The offense is particularly egregious due to the fact he carried out the attack in front of his daughter, who begged him to stop hurting her mother, Vohwinkle said.

“These are significant factors that anybody looks at in domestic violence cases that are a precursor, unfortunately, to things that are much more serious, like murder,” Vohwinkle said. “I think it’s very important that he understand the seriousness of what he did in this matter.”

Robison’s attorney, Daniel French, asked the judge to instead follow the recommendations of the probation department to allow his client to serve his suggested 120 days of incarceration on tether, as it would allow him to continue his employment and provide for the two children in his custody. French mentioned that Robison and his wife have separated since the incident, and that divorce proceedings are in progress.

“I think that’s a good thing,” French said. “It was a combustible relationship.”

Dodge agreed with the sentencing recommendation, saying that given his employment and home situation, probation was a more appropriate punishment — though the judge warned that if Robison violated the terms of his sentence he would face up to 11 months in jail.

“I think going to jail is going to create some problems, not only for you but for other people in your family,” Dodge said.