Area residents sentenced to prison on drug, obstruction charges

Published 11:19 am Tuesday, July 26, 2022

NILES — Two area residents were sentenced to prison Monday in Berrien County Trial Court in Niles. 

Jeremy James Griffin, 36, of South Bend, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamines and resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 24 months to 120 months and 12 months to 24 months in prison. He has credit for one day served and must pay $258 in fines and costs. 

The incident occurred June 6 in Niles Township. Griffin in on parole in Indiana and faces additional charges there. These sentences can be served in any penal institution. 

“I take full responsibility for what I did,” Griffin said. “I have mental health issues and I’m a drug addict and I don’t always make the best decisions. I’ve shown selfish behavior.” 

Judge Schrock noted that Griffin has eight prior felony convictions. “Even when you’re in trouble, you run from police,” he said. “I could make the sentences consecutive but I’m not going to do that.” 

Luke Alan Hubler, 36, of Main Street in Berrien Springs, pleaded guilty to resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to 12 to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $258 in fines and costs. He can serve the sentence in any penal institution. 

He was given credit for 61 days served for domestic violence. 

The incident occurred April 5, 2021 in the Berrien Springs area. He fought with police responding to the domestic violence incident and had to be pepper sprayed by police. 

Defense attorney Carri Briseno said Hubler has been in and out of jail over the last several months both here and in Indiana. “Any time he gets out, he gets a job and then is arrested on an outstanding warrant,” she said. “He has five children and he wants the opportunity to reset everything.” 

Briseno said Hubler has been homeless in the past and has homes he can stay at in both Indiana and Michigan. 

“I keep running into issues in other counties,” Hubler said. “My goal is to better myself, get custody of my kids and get a job and a home. I want to move forward.” 

“It will take a little bit to establish a track record,” Judge Schrock said. “You don’t follow the rules, why would a court trust you to take care of your kids? It’s easy to talk, it’s harder to do. You have to show you are the type of person who can be trusted.” 

        In other sentencings: 

  • Brian Lee Lawson, 37, Dowagiac, pleased guilty to attempted unlawful use of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to credit for 110 days served and $442.97 in fines, costs and restitution. The incident occurred March 26 in Niles when he took his girlfriend’s aunt’s car without permission. 
  • Lawrence Edward Slaughter, 18, of Niles, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, resisting and obstructing police and carrying a concealed weapon and was sentenced to two years probation in the Swift & Sure program, credit for 65 days served, 120 days tether and $658 in fines and costs. His weapon was forfeited. That incident occurred Dec. 1, 2020 in Niles. He also pleaded guilty to attempted resisting and obstructing police on March 15, 2020 in Niles and was sentenced to credit for 65 days served and $125. 

Jalan Dean Whitley, 30, of St. Joseph pleaded guilty to second offense use of methamphetamines and was sentenced to 49 days in jail and $758 in fines and costs. He has credit for no time served as he is on parole from another felony conviction. The incident occurred June 7 in Galien.