High Crimes is a Record-Eagle data reporting project examining trends uncovered in information collected from thousands of drug cases adjudicated in the Grand Traverse region’s courts.

Record-Eagle reporters began in 2016 scouring court records for information related to all misdemeanor and felony drug cases in Grand Traverse County between 2012 to 2016, collecting data from public court records and prison databases.

Data compiled included a defendant’s gender, race and hometown, along with information about whether a defendant was charged or sentenced as a habitual offender. Defendants were considered local if their addresses listed in court records fall within the Record-Eagle’s five-county coverage area of Grand Traverse, Antrim, Benzie, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties.

Reporters continue to compile, enter, fact-check and analyze information collected as they work to expand the data set and examine trends the numbers expose.

editor's pick
  • 8 min to read

TRAVERSE CITY — Ronald Norfleet’s eyes dart across the cinder block prison walls that will, if he does nothing, confine him until his death.

editor's pick
  • 5 min to read

TRAVERSE CITY — The difference between freedom and a years-long prison sentence in Grand Traverse County’s justice system often depends on a l…

editor's pick

BELLAIRE — Two Antrim County drug dealers recently pleaded guilty to identical charges, but their penalties reflected no such parity.

editor's pick
  • 8 min to read

BEULAH — Kristen Fast finally reached her last chance.

  • 7 min to read

HONOR — Light always spills from Jeanne McPherson’s home, a haven in a village where drug abuse often unfolds in darkness.

TRAVERSE CITY — Ronald Norfleet’s release from prison is no longer set for when he’s 101 years old.

  • 10 min to read

TRAVERSE CITY — No judge’s sentence could bring back Jerry Friedgen, who died of an overdose in a Traverse City restaurant bathroom.