Niles man sentenced to probation on gun charge

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, August 2, 2022

NILES – Michael Leon Plew, 26, of Niles, pleaded guilty to possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and was sentenced to two years probation, credit for two days served and $598 in fines and costs Monday in Berrien County Trial Court in Niles. He must forfeit his weapon. 

The incident occurred Nov. 22, 2021 in Buchanan Township. Plew is already on misdemeanor probation in another case. 

Berrien County Trial Judge Sterling Schrock said the purpose of the felony probation sentence included monitoring Plew’s behavior, addressing any substance abuse issues and correcting his criminal thinking patterns. 

Plew is a convicted felon and cannot be in possession of a firearm. He denied some of the allegations made against him and his attorney, Paul Jancha, Sr., noted that the victim didn’t report the incident for a week. Jancha said that Plew also tried to find out if he could own a firearm as a felon but wasn’t given the right information. 

“Are you making excuses about having a firearm and saying you got bad information when you called?” Judge Schrock asked. “You need to read the definition of a firearm in Michigan and I don’t think you can possess a firearm as a felon in Indiana either.” 

“It’s time to wipe all this from your head and hit the reset button,” Judge Schrock told Plew. “You now have four felony convictions, you can have no guns. It’s not safe and the law precludes it.”