|Bay City Academy's Pat Cleland|
Judge Larry T. Nelson rejected Patrick Cleland's proposed plea deal Tuesday in Leelanau County's 86th District Court, and jury selection for Cleland's upcoming trial is scheduled to begin November 10 in Leelanau County. (A start date for Cleland's trial has not yet been scheduled.)
Arrested on May 25, 2015, Cleland was formally arraigned September 22 one count each of stalking and attempted possession of a controlled substance analogue.
Cleland's attorney, Patrick E. Heintz, appeared with his client in court on October 6, and the register of actions reveals a proposed deal was tentatively struck, with Cleland pleading guilty to the stalking charge in return for the drug possession charge being dismissed.
Heintz is a partner in the law firm Bishop & Heintz, P. C. Heintz's law partner, Doug Bishop, was the longtime legal counsel for the Grand Traverse Academy Board of Directors. Heintz also represented Cleland back in 2013 when he negotiated another plea deal, keeping Cleland out of jail. Cleland plead guilty to one count of retail fraud-3rd degree and served three days of community service instead of a six day jail sentence.
Leelanau County court records reveal an area woman sought and received a personal protection order against Cleland, formerly principal of Mancelona's North Central Academy. (Cleland is reportedly currently still employed by the Bay City Academy.)
The personal protection order was granted on May 26, and Cleland was served on June 8.
The term 'stalking' as defined by Michigan's stalking laws can include: a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
If convicted on the stalking charge, Cleland faces misdemeanor penalties, which could be up to one year in prison and fines of up to $1,000. In addition, Cleland faces an additional year in prison and fines of up to $1,000 if convicted on the attempted possession charge.