Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 15, 2013

Leelanau will pay to settle lawsuit

TRAVERSE CITY — Leelanau County will pay $55,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from allegations county sheriff’s deputies illegally detained a man.

Leelanau's Board of Commissioners agreed to the settlement amount this week to resolve a suit filed by Gary Aschim.

County Administrator Chet Janik said the lawsuit stemmed from a 2009 episode in which two county deputies were investigating a report of drunken driving. They went to Aschim's home to question his son.

Janik said Aschim was put into handcuffs and detained when he declined to produce his son for questioning. Aschim’s son eventually was arrested, but prosecutors dismissed the case because deputies never obtained a warrant during their inquiry.

“There was a mediation session, and Mr. Aschim signed off on the agreement,” Janik said. “It was not final until the Board of Commissioners agreed to approve it.”

Aschim declined comment when reached at his home Wednesday. Aschim's attorney, Blake Ringsmuth, said Aschim's rights were clearly violated.

"We filed suit because it was a violation of the Fourth Amendment," Ringsmuth said. "You can’t arrest someone like that … the Constitution requires probable cause for a crime, and none was presented. They needed to go to a magistrate, present the facts and have an impartial person decide that a crime had likely been committed."

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