St. Joseph Co. prosecutor pleads to drinking in violation of bond

Southwest Michigan

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The St. Joseph County prosecutor has admitted to violating the terms of his bond in a drunken driving case, but will not face sentencing while he undergoes treatment for alcohol abuse.

John McDonough pleaded guilty to a bond violation during a Tuesday hearing in Kalamazoo County District Court conducted via Zoom. Under the terms of a plea agreement, other violation charges were dismissed.

While McDonough awaits trial for the drunken driving case, the court had ordered him not to have any alcohol. During the Tuesday hearing, McDonough said he drank bourbon on Aug. 7.

After that, his attorney said, McDonough got in-patient care for alcohol abuse. McDonough said he is now regularly attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Asked by Judge Vincent Westra if he was following a 12-step recovery program, McDonough said he was.

“I am certainly powerless over my addiction to alcohol. Obviously, I’m sitting here in front of you and have gone through in-patient treatment and have really destroyed the lives of the people I care about most, and my life is unmanageable,” McDonough said, referencing the first step. “And I’m yielding myself to my higher power and trying to regain sanity in my life and just taking everything one day at a time and trying to work with the court and work with my doctors and everything else to get myself physically and mentally healthy so that I can regain what I had previously in my life.”

Recognizing McDonough’s addiction, Westra said McDonough appeared to now be complying with the terms of his bond and was following through with treatment. As a result, he said he would put off sentencing.

“Mr. McDonough, you’re on the path. Stay on that path,” Westra said.

The main drunken driving case stems from a May crash near Three Rivers in which McDonough crashed his SUV into a fence. No one was hurt. Records show he blew a .107 on a portable breath test and then slightly below the legal driving limit of .08 about 40 minutes later. His trial has been on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The case is being handled in Kalamazoo County to keep it out of McDonough’s jurisdiction.

He is still the St. Joseph County prosecutor, but won’t be for long — he lost in the August primary.

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