Niles man gets prison time for failing to register as sex offender

Published 5:09 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

NILES — A Niles man was sentenced to prison Monday in Berrien County Trial Court for failing to register as a sex offender and resisting and obstructing police. 

Larry Charles Pierce, Jr., 34, of Niles, pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender and resisting and obstructing police and was sentenced to concurrent terms of 14 months to four years in prison and 14 months to two years in prison. He must pay $396 in fines and costs. 

He was also sentenced to 30 days in jail for domestic violence and ordered to pay $125 in fines and costs. He has no credit for time served on any of the sentences as he was on parole at the time of the incidents. The sentences are consecutive to any sentence he gets for the parole violation.

His past record includes convictions in 2017 for failing to register as a sex offender and in 2013 for attempted bringing contraband into prison and failing to register as a sex offender. He was paroled April 19, 2022. 

The failure to register incident occurred Jan. 13 in Niles. The resisting and obstructing incident occurred Feb. 18 in Niles. The domestic violence incident occurred Dec. 18, 2022 in Niles. 

Assistant Prosecutor Kate Arnold said Pierce’s record speaks for itself. “He was on parole and he has been in and out of the criminal justice system,” she said. “With the resisting and obstructing charge, he rushed the officer, pushed him into a wall and ran away. He also has not been in compliance with registering as a sex offender.” 

Defense attorney Richard Sammis said Pierce takes “100 percent responsibility” for his actions and asked for help for him. He said the “cascading” nature of the charges stemmed from him getting in a fight with his father, moving out which violated his parole conditions, not registering and then shoving the officer when he came to arrest him. 

“He’s registered numerous times but he knew if he went in, he’d be arrested,” Sammis said. “He started using drugs and when the police officer came, he shoved him. The report states that this shows he’s dangerous, I see it as him trying to get away. He was fighting for his freedom.” 

“I make no excuses,” Pierce said. “Drugs led me down the wrong way. My mind is clearer now. I will accept whatever you decide, I deserve it.” 

“What struck me is that this is your seventh sex offender registry violation,” Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith said. “You’ve been to jail and prison and on probation and nothing has changed. You’re not entitled to fight for your freedom when you engage in criminal behavior.” 

“I hope you find a way to stay off drugs,” the judge added. “We’ve tried everything, you will have to do it yourself. I hope you find the assistance you need to stay clean and stay out of jail, but today is not that day.”