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February 12, 2014

Woman arrested for bringing stun gun to court

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

WARREN — Note to self: Leave the stun gun at home when you have business at court.

A Southfield woman found that out the hard way Feb. 11 when Warren police said she allegedly went through a security checkpoint at the 37th District Court with a pink stun gun in her purse.

“She said she forgot to leave it in the car,” said court officer Phillip Nahirniak, assigned to the security checkpoint and metal detector at the court’s west door.

As the19-year-old woman quickly learned, showing up with illegal weapons or drugs will quickly land you in police custody. No one is permitted to enter the building with any type of weapon. Anyone who shows up with a legal knife or permitted firearm is typically turned away until they properly stow it in their vehicle or back at home.

In this case, the stun gun was confiscated because the woman didn’t have a permit to legally carry one. She was handcuffed, walked next door for booking at the Warren Police Department, and spent the night in jail on a felony charge.

“She said she didn’t realize she had it in there,” Warren Police Detective Steve Showers said. “It’s almost as big as her purse.”

Showers, the officer in charge of the case, said the woman was cooperative with police and has no criminal record. He said possession of a stun gun is a four-year felony. 

The woman requested court-appointed legal counsel at her arraignment before Judge Michael Chupa. Her bond was set at $500 ahead of her next court date, scheduled for 8:45 a.m. Feb. 20 before Judge John Chmura.

Nahirniak said it’s the job of court officers to check everyone entering the courthouse for “anything that we deem could be a safety issue.” He said the Feb. 11 incident was his first with a stun gun, but that people have been found to be carrying a variety of other items.

He recalled a groomsman coming into the court for a wedding about two years ago who had a vial of crack cocaine.

“He said it was the groom’s,” Nahirniak said.

The man reportedly told court officers he brought the vial for after the wedding.

Between 600 and 1,000 people enter the courthouse on a typical day, depending on the caseload. A tally taken over a period of seven business days earlier this month showed 6,605 people passed through the metal detector.

A list of prohibited items is posted outside of the court’s only entrance.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.