Berrien County employee pleads guilty to drug charge, obstructing justice

Posted at 12:05 AM, Apr 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-01 00:06:27-04

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. — An employee in the Berrien County court system has plead guilty to one county of delivering a controlled substance, a 20-year felony, and three counts of obstructing justice a 5-year felony.

County Prosecutor Michael Sepic says Jessica Holmes, 35, of Eau Claire, will be sentenced by a neighboring county on May 1, 2017.

Two counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

The charges stem from Holmes’ employment with the Berrien County Trial Court as a Swift and Sure Program coordinator.

A 16-year veteran with the court, Holmes recently was promoted to the program coordinator position and was managing Swift and Sure probationers.

Swift and Sure is a probation status where probationers, those convicted of felonies and placed on probation, are selected for a state-funded program designed for defendants who were likely on their way to prison to be given a second chance to succeed on a local probation term.

It is alleged that Holmes developed a relationship with a Swift and Sure probationer after the July 11 Berrien County courthouse shootings, when the two of them were both in the courtroom. Investigators say she delivered a drug, Norco, to him to sell on her behalf; that she had a sexual relationship with him, which is prohibited due to her employment with the county while he was a probationer; and that she provided him with confidential scheduling information by which he was to be drug and alcohol tested for the Swift and Sure program.