Photo via Zoom Teleconference - Michael Hills, right, attorney for St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough, left, speaks during McDonough’s arraignment hearing Thursday on charges of violating his bond conditions related to a drunk driving arrest in May.

McDonough arraigned on bond violation charges, pleads not guilty

CENTREVILLE — St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough was arraigned Thursday in St. Joseph County 3B District Court and pleaded not guilty to charges of violating his bond conditions related to a drunk driving arrest in May.

The hearing, held virtually via Zoom teleconference before visiting Kalamazoo County 8th District Court Judge Vincent Westra, comes after McDonough turned himself in on Monday after an arrest warrant was issued for the bond violation.

McDonough originally posted bond on the bench warrant, however, according to WWMT, he was placed in the St. Joseph County Jail Tuesday after failing an alcohol test after signing his bond paperwork. He was released Wednesday after posting a $5,000 cash surety bond.

The motion presented during Thursday’s hearing brought two charges of bond violations, one stemming from violations on “several occasions” between his July 24 arraignment and his release on a personal recognizance bond on Sept. 4, and one alleging McDonough “consumed intoxicants on or about Sept. 14 or Sept. 15.”

According to Three Rivers Police Department investigation records obtained Tuesday via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, McDonough purchased alcohol multiple times after his bond conditions were set, and was identified in a video of one of those occasions at a store in Three Rivers during the investigation by a detective from TRPD. Part of McDonough’s bond conditions were that he cannot purchase, possess or consume intoxicants or controlled substances nor visit a retailer whose primary business is the sale of alcohol.

During Thursday’s hearing, Assistant Michigan Attorney General Gregory Townsend said he was concerned that McDonough has violated his bond conditions “on two separate occasions.”

“I am concerned that he is now alleged that he’s violated the court’s order on two separate occasions,” Townsend said. “I know we’ll have a bond hearing, but I’m just concerned about the necessity of having some kind of in-house treatment for the defendant.”

Westra said the court shared Townsend’s concern, saying there’s “reason to believe” McDonough’s bond is not being adhered to and whether he would comply with those conditions. Michael Hills, McDonough’s attorney, said his client has “a lot of things in place right now that are holding him to account,” including what he described as a “house arrest” by McDonough’s family.

“The court has ordered no driving, he’s not arguing about that, his family is surrounding him and supportive of his sobriety and he’s under what I would consider a house arrest by the family at this time to make sure he is accountable,” Hills said. “The court ordered regular testing, so he is on sobriety testing four times daily.”

Hills added McDonough, who he said was in the hospital for an extended period of time following his arrest and has medical appointments and a surgery scheduled for later this month, is in intensive outpatient therapy three times weekly for three hours each time, is in individual counseling twice a week, and is working on a 12-step counseling program two to four times a week.

“He is diligently working on this issue,” Hills said. “We are working from our side to assure the court and ourselves that Mr. McDonough is abiding by the bond conditions.”

Westra said if McDonough is going to intensive outpatient three times a week, he would like to see him be in 12-step program meetings four times a week on the days where he doesn’t have outpatient.

Townsend asked Westra to amend the bond for home confinement until the next hearing on the bond violation, citing Hills’ earlier “house arrest” comment, but Hills objected, saying the conditions currently in place were enough.

Westra amended McDonough’s pre-trial release order, with a provision stipulating participation in meetings for the treatment program four times per week, as well as following the directives of his outpatient program and his individual therapist. Westra did not place McDonough on a “home detention device,” but said he would consider it at the time of the next hearing, depending on the outcome. All other provisions of the order, including stipulations about not purchasing or consuming alcohol and not visiting retailers who primarily sell alcohol, and not driving a vehicle “under any circumstances,” are still in effect.

McDonough’s next hearing on the bond violation is set for Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 10:30 a.m. His trial on the drunk driving charges is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or

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