KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The man who authorities say fatally shot Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ryan Proxmire was out of jail on a second personal recognizance bond, despite having a previous bond violation.
Judge Christopher Haenicke, the chief judge for the 8th District Court in Kalamazoo County, is standing by his decision to issue a PR bond for Kyle Goidosik, who died in an exchange of gunfire with deputies after shooting Proxmire.
In his first public comments since Proxmire’s death on Aug. 15, Haenicke said that while he wishes Proxmire was still alive, he followed the bond guidelines.
“There is not a person alive that does not wish Sgt. Ryan J. Proxmire were still with us, living the life of the upstanding husband, father, son, friend, colleague, and public servant that he was. The judges and staff of the courthouse interacted with Sgt. Proxmire on occasion, and we grieve the tragic loss of his life,” he wrote in an email to News 8.
“Given the facts and circumstances as set forth in Kyle Goidosik’s two pending case files, personal recognizance bonds which included conditions to ensure the safety of the public were not only appropriate, but required by the applicable law concerning pretrial release,” he continued. “Alleged bond violations are one of the factors taken into consideration in setting bond, and they were taken into account in the setting of bond in Kyle Goidosik’s felony case on June 24, 2021.”
Goidosik was out on a PR bond for felony drug and firearms charges the night Proxmire was shot. Goidosik had been arrested twice in two months and released both times on a PR bond.
“My greatest fear when I was ever setting bonds was something like this would happen — that you might make a wrong call and let somebody out that should be confined and have them commit some atrocious crime,” retired Kent County Circuit Court Judge Donald Johnston said. “That keeps judges up at night.”
Johnston provided perspective, explaining the purpose of bond is to ensure that people show up to court, not to keep them locked up.
“A $1,000 personal recognizance bond is like an IOU,” he explained. “You sign an agreement saying you will show up in court and if you don’t, you agree to pay the court $1,000.”
Johnston agreed that a bond was required and Michigan bond guidelines were followed in this case. However, he says given the severity of the charges and the violation, he would ordered a cash surety bond, meaning Goidosik would have to pay before being released.
He added that there is pressure on courts and judges in the name of criminal justice reform to release people on PR bonds whenever possible.
Johnston says at the heart of this case appears to be someone struggling with mental illness who needed treatment instead of time behind bars.
“It’s pretty much impossible to anticipate situations such as this and even if you did, it’s pretty much impossible to do much to head it off at the pass,” Johnston said.