Dowagiac man gets prison time on child pornography, assault charges

Published 2:20 pm Friday, March 17, 2023

CASSOPOLIS — A Dowagiac man was sentenced to prison for his actions in two incidents. He first was found guilty of being in possession of child sexually abusive material in 2019 and then of assaulting a jail employee last summer. 

John Means, 39, of Dewey Street in Dowagiac, was sentenced to 12 months to four years in prison on the child sexually abusive materials charge with credit for six days served and 19 months to five years in prison with credit for 116 days served on the assault charge. He must register as a sex offender and pay a total of $2,246 in fines and costs. 

The possession of child sexually abusive materials incident occurred Oct. 8, 2019 at a home in Dowagiac when his probation agent found a photo of an underage female on Means’ phone and then Michigan State Police uncovered other photos on the phone. 

The assault on a jail employee incident occurred Aug. 16, 2022 when he got in a fight with jail guards while in jail on another charge. He kicked the guards and yelled at them before being subdued, handcuffed and put in isolation. 

Cass County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mary Foster said Means has a history of criminal behavior. She noted he was on probation in another case when he was caught with child sexually abusive materials in his possession and then assaulted a jail guard when incarcerated in another case. 

“He has a long term criminal history, he’s not entitled to probation with his actions and choices,” Foster said. “He had previous chances to follow the rules and he thumbed his nose at that them.” 

Defense attorney Greg Feldman argued for a more lenient sentence. He noted that Means had not re-offended since being released on bond and is gainfully employed. “He said he likes to stay busy, it keeps him out of trouble,” he said. “I think he can move forward and stay out of trouble.” 

Means said he’s trying his hardest to do the right things. He added that his mother has stage four cancer and he’s been trying to help care for her.

“I want to be an adult, I’ve messed up my life with drug use,” he said. 

Cass County Circuit Judge Mark Herman commiserated with Means over his mother’s health problems but said his hands were tied due to a sentencing agreement between the prosecution and defense to sentence him within the guidelines which were prison guidelines. 

“I will give you a little bit of advice, stop fighting with police, it only makes things worse,” the judge said. “It added more felony charges and added a significant amount of time to the guidelines. The guidelines are prison guidelines. If you hadn’t fought with police, it would be local jail time.”