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AG Nessel Files Emergency Appeal to Reverse Impending Parole of Ontonagon Man

LANSING – Yesterday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed an emergency application for leave to appeal in the Ontonagon County Circuit Court and requested a stay of enforcement against the parole of Paul Gauthier, 70, who last resided in Ontonagon. The state seeks to reverse the Michigan Parole Board decision to release Gauthier from the Saginaw Correctional Facility, where he is serving a sentence of 15 to 30 years for Assault with Intent to Commit Murder. The Parole Board has set his release date for Wednesday, July 12, 2023.

Paul Gauthier tried to kill his significant other by strangling and smothering her and was convicted by a jury in 2009. Gauthier has a history of physically abusing his significant others and was previously convicted of violating a no-contact order filed against him.

“If he is indeed paroled on July 12, 2023, he will have served not one day longer than the minimum sentence imposed,” the emergency appeal from Attorney General Nessel reads. “The decision to parole Gauthier on the very day he reaches his minimum sentence is puzzling, dangerous, and constitutes a clear abuse of the Parole Board’s discretion.”

Gauthier continues to minimize his role in the vicious and nearly fatal attack on the victim, only claiming to not have recollection of the attack after repeatedly blaming the victim for his actions. His recent claims of memory loss hardly constitute an acceptance of responsibility that he has long denied. In addition to Gauthier’s lack of remorse and accountability for his assault, the application for leave contends the Parole Board failed their duty by not requiring Gauthier’s completion of domestic violence intervention programming/assaultive offender treatment while incarcerated yet mandates it after his release. The board minimized two incidents of assaultive conduct while incarcerated and conditioning his parole with a no-contact order with respect to his victim ignores his violation of a no-contact order prohibiting communication with her after his arrest.  

The state’s application concludes, “The facts underlying Gauthier’s conviction and which led to his incarceration are horrendous and nightmarish. The harm suffered by the victim will never fade. She is forever changed by Gauthier’s brutal and merciless conduct. However, what has not changed is Gauthier himself. Gauthier continues to minimize his conduct and is essentially the same person who entered prison in 2009. Most disturbing is that the decision to parole Gauthier places the victim in this case – and the community at large (particularly its female population) – at great risk of harm, both emotionally and physically. It bears repeating that a “prisoner must not be given liberty on parole until the board has reasonable assurance, after consideration of all of the facts and circumstances, including the prisoner's mental and social attitude, that the prisoner will not become a menace to society or to the public safety.” MCL 791.233(1)(a) (emphasis added.) The Parole Board simply did not have this “reasonable assurance” on the facts of this case.”

A copy of the filed appeal can be found here.


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