Sanders appears for sentencing

L’ANSE – Harvey Sanders Jr. was sentenced in Baraga County Circuit Court Tuesday.

After more than a year of incarceration, he will serve no additional time.

Sanders, 54, of Flint, reached a plea agreement in May in which he pleaded guilty to possession of 25 grams or less of cocaine, a four-year felony.

Sanders was arrested in May 2013, when Michigan State Police troopers found his license had expired during a traffic stop. While conducting an inventory search of the vehicle, troopers found narcotics including cocaine and about 200 pills.

During Sanders’ trial, his co-conspirator, Justin Jinks, said he and Sanders had planned to sell the drugs in the Calumet area. Sanders’ trial ended in a hung jury in January.

“Mr. Sanders has sat for 13, I think going on 14 months now,” Baraga County Prosecutor Joseph O’Leary said. “We’ve actually been through a trial and around the corner and back again. I believe that this is in the best interest of justice.”

Sanders’ attorney, David Gemignani, acknowledged there had been some friction, but said Sanders “will give you the respect and earn it back.”

Gemignani said Sanders had more potential than his current circumstances showed. In Sanders’ army days, he said, he had been assigned to finance. He also has three years of community college education in the culinary arts.

“It’s not like he comes to court today saying, ‘I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that,'” he said. “He’s going to tell you, ‘I have the qualifications to do this, do that, to make something out of my life.'”

Sanders said he would learn from his experience, and would accept the terms of the plea agreement.

“I appreciate the prosecutor giving me this opportunity in front of me where I can get on with my life and do something positive instead of making bad decisions, whether it be the people that I deal with, or just bad decisions pretty much.”

As part of Sanders’ plea agreement, he must leave the state. In exchange for Sanders’ plea, numerous felony counts were dismissed: five 20-year felony counts of possessing less than 50 grams of a controlled substance with intent to deliver – one each for cocaine, morphine, hydromorphone, methadone and oxycodone. He also faced a seven-year felony charge of possession with intent to deliver dihydrocodeine and four-year charges of possession with intent to deliver alprazolam and phenobarbital.