Michigan Lawmaker To Get A Mental Health Exam, Stay Jailed

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker who was jailed for violating his bond conditions in a drunken driving case must complete a mental health exam, a judge ordered Friday.

Livingston County Judge Michael Hatty ordered the exam for state Rep. Jewell Jones, a Detroit-area Democrat, the Livingston Daily Press & Argus reported. Jones must remain held until at least his next court appearance on Oct. 15, Hatty ruled.

Jones, 26, was charged in April with drunken driving, resisting arrest and possession of a weapon while under the influence of alcohol. He was out on bond when he was taken into custody Tuesday after prosecutors accused him of violating bond conditions, including tampering with an alcohol monitor on his ankle.

After Jones was transported to the jail, authorities say he had taped a handcuff key to his foot and is now facing charges for an attempted escape and bringing a weapon of some kind inside the jail.

Jones told Hatty at a Tuesday hearing that he takes responsibility for testing positive for alcohol on Sept. 3 and tampering with the monitor on Labor Day. The Livingston Daily reported that he pleaded guilty to the violation. Hatty revoked his bond.

By Thursday, the Inkster lawmaker had been stripped of all of his legislative committee assignments. Republican House Speaker Jason Wentworth said the latest allegations were a “new low.”

Former Detroit Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnono was at Jones’ court hearing Friday and expressed concern for his mental well-being, the Livingston Daily reported.

“First of all, I am a mother. So as a mother, I hear laments for what I am seeing unravel in front of me,” Gay-Dagnono said. “Knowing the care and consideration that he shows for all of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, this is not representative of who I know Jewell is and I can only surmise, not being a professional, that there is something that lies beneath this that is really tearing at him.”

One of Jones’ attorneys, Ali Hammoud, requested to be removed from the case, noting a breakdown in communication. His other attorney, Bryon Nolen, requested the mental health evaluation, citing the key incident as his motivation.

“I know there is somewhat of a change in his behavior recently and I want to find out really what’s going on with him and assist him better in his case,” Nolen said.