LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the initial appointments to the Criminal Justice Policy Commission.
The 17-member commission was established in 2015, and it is responsible for reviewing current sentencing guidelines, exploring alternatives to incarceration, promoting rehabilitation programs and making recommendations to the Legislature. The Commission includes representatives of the Legislature, the attorney general, and 12 members appointed by the Governor.
“These appointees have a wide range of professional experience and I thank them for their willingness to serve on this new commission. I am confident they will provide strong suggestions for ways we can work to improve our criminal justice system,” Snyder said.
Four-year terms, expiring March 1, 2019:
Bruce Caswell, of Hillsdale, most recently served as a state senator, representing the 16th District. He also served in the Michigan House of Representatives. Caswell is a retired teacher and superintendent. He taught history, mathematics, and physics over his 30 years of service as a teacher. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Michigan State University. Caswell represents the general public and will chair the commission.
Stacia Buchanan, of Lansing, works with Mallory, Lapka, Scott & Stein, PLLC and was previously in private practice with Buchanan Law Office PLLC, and Maddaloni & Associates, P.C. Buchanan has served as adjunct faculty at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School since 2012. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oakland University and a law degree from Michigan State University – Detroit College of Law. She represents criminal defense attorneys.
Kyle Kaminski, of Lansing, is the legislative liaison and chief of staff for the Michigan Department of Corrections, where has worked since 2013. Kaminski earned a bachelor’s degree in political theory and constitutional democracy from Michigan State University. He represents the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Raymond Voet, of Ionia, is a judge for the 64A District Court, in Ionia County. He was first elected in 1998 after serving as prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Voet earned a bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College and a law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy. He represents district court judges.
Three-year terms, expiring March 1, 2018:
Sheryl Kubiak, of Milford, is a professor at Michigan State University. Her areas of specialty include jails and prisons, interpersonal violence and sexual assault, and mental health. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Madonna University, and a master’s of social work and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Michigan. She represents the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Sarah Lightner, of Springport, is a Jackson County Commissioner, representing District 1. She is a paralegal with experience in criminal defense, family law, bankruptcy, and civil law. Lightner completed the legal assistant program at Lansing Community College and represents the Michigan Association of Counties.
Jennifer Strange, of Traverse City, is a clinical social worker, in Kingsley, with the Michigan Department of Corrections. She is also a clinical therapist with Northern Lakes Community Mental Health. Strange teaches at Baker College of Cadillac and Grand Valley State University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social and criminal justice, and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University, and a master’s of social work from Grand Valley State University. She represents the mental or behavioral health field.
Paul Stutesman, of Three Rivers, is chief judge of the 45th Circuit Court in St. Joseph County. He was first appointed in 2005, after spending a decade in private practice. Stutesman earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University and a law degree from DePaul University. He represents circuit court judges.
Two-year terms, expiring March 1, 2017:
D.J. Hilson, of Muskegon, is the Muskegon County prosecutor. Prior to his election, he spent 13 years as senior assistant prosecutor. Hilson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics from Marquette University and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He represents prosecuting attorneys.
Barbara Levine, of Grand Ledge, is executive director of the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending. She was also an attorney in private practice and an administrator in the Michigan Appellate Assigned Counsel System. Levine earned a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from the University of Michigan. She represents advocates of alternatives to incarceration.
Larry Stelma, of Cedar Springs, is the Kent County Sherriff, where he has more than 40 years of law enforcement experience. Stelma attended Cornerstone University, the FBI National Academy, and the National Sheriff’s Institute. He represents county sheriffs.
Andrew Verheek, of Grand Rapids, is a planner with the Kent County Office of Community Corrections and previously worked as a case manager for Kent County Friend of the Court. Verheek earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology and a master’s degree in sociology from Central Michigan University, and is pursuing a doctorate in sociology from Western Michigan University. He represents the Michigan Association of Community Corrections Advisory Boards.
After the expiration of initial terms, appointees will serve four-year terms. Their appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.