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Local News

The case against the former Barry County Animal Shelter Director Billie Jo Hartwell, scheduled for a probable cause hearing in front of Judge Michael Schipper in District Court Wednesday, was instead moved to a preliminary exam on June 1 at 2:30 p.m.

 

Hartwell was charged in early April with one count of misconduct in office, a felony common law offense that carries a maximum of 5 years in prison.  

The charge against Hartwell stems from a combination of alleged acts of misconduct, ranging from unauthorized taking of dog food to inappropriate conduct toward a Barry County Jail inmate worker.

County inmates work at the shelter and other county entities in a work release program.

 

A Freedom of Information request for the Barry County Sheriff’s investigation was first extended because the investigation was not complete, then denied for the same reason.

 

The initial hearing set for  April 12 was adjourned because her Attorney, Jeffrey Portko, with Advocate Law Offices in Grand Rapids, was to be in federal court. The next scheduled hearing, for May 3, was adjourned because another person had stepped forward with an additional complaint against Hartwell, but hadn’t been interviewed by investigators.

Hartwell was fired from the shelter position the third week in April. She is free on bond. 

 

 

 

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