There was consternation and confusion in Sanilac County recently, as prosecutors realized that they had not been given all of the necessary documentation in a drunk driving case against 29-year-old Michael A. Knoblock, the son of Huron County Circuit Judge M. Richard Knoblock.
According to police records, Knoblock was arrested on June 21st by Ubly Police Officer Alex Jobes for operating while intoxicated, speeding, and child endangerment. The subsequent police report shows that Knoblock’s BAC was recorded as being 0.21, which classifies as a superdrunk OWI under Michigan law.
But even though he was arraigned in the Huron County District Court, an obvious conflict of interest issue arose with his father, and a separate prosecutor and judge were assigned by the state. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office assigned the office of the Sanilac County Prosecuting Attorney to handle the case.
On September 24th, Knoblock pleaded guilty to a single count of impaired driving, was sentenced to probation, and one day in jail which he had already served, plus fines. However, had the warrant for child endangerment charges been included in the information sent on to the prosecutors, the resulting sentence would have changed, resulting in higher fines, many more days in jail, and the revocation of his driver’s license.
But this is where problems arise. Prosecutor James V. Young and Assistant Prosecutor Brenda Sanford from Sanilac County claim that they did not receive all of the necessary paperwork and documentation to apply the correct charges.
What were they missing? The warrant request filed by Officer Jobes for child endangerment changes. In fact, neither Young nor Sanford even knew that there were children in the vehicle at the time of Knoblock’s arrest.
Ubly Police Chief David Rothe claims that Officer Jobes did in fact complete a warrant request for child endangerment charges, and that it was delivered to Timothy J. Rutkowski, the Huron County Prosecuting Attorney. In turn, Rutkowski says that he received the warrant request and that he sent it on to the State Attorney General’s Office. From there, it was supposed to be forwarded to the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office. But they never received it.
As a result, Knoblock faces almost no consequences for having driven with children in his vehicle, while drunk and speeding.