Preliminary exam set for former detective

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 12, 2012

EASTPOINTE — A former Eastpointe detective charged with misconduct and embezzlement is scheduled for a preliminary exam in 38th District Court Jan. 4.

Timothy Stopczynski is accused of stealing items seized by the Police Department and selling them for personal gain. The 14-year veteran of the Eastpointe Police Department is charged with one count of misconduct while in office, a five-year felony, and one count of embezzlement greater than $1,000 but less than $20,000, a five-year felony.

Stopczynski, 41, had nothing to say as he left 38th District Court — located directly adjacent to the Police Department where he worked just months ago — with his attorney after a pretrial conference at 1 p.m. Dec. 4.

Fred Gibson, a former state police officer, is representing Stopczynski. As of the Dec. 4 court date, Gibson still had not received the case files against Stopczynski and was unable to offer much detail into the case.

“I still haven’t received the discovery,” Gibson said. “I should have had it last week. I emailed the proposed order for discovery to the prosecutor when I got back to the office after court on (Nov. 19), but the judge just signed off on it today. That means they have seven days to provide the discovery.”

Gibson added that he couldn’t say much about the case until he had a chance to go through the discovery, but the Jan. 4 preliminary exam date should give him enough time to do that. Without knowledge of the evidence, or lack of, against his client, he was unable to comment on whether or not he would be entering a plea at that time.

He had entered a stand-mute plea at the arraignment, but it was denied. Judge Roger La Rose of the 32-A District Court in Harper Woods, who is presiding over the case, said that pleas could not be accepted by the court at an arraignment. To stand mute is to neither admit nor deny guilt.

“During an arraignment, you enter a plea: guilty, not guilty or stand mute,” Gibson explained. “I attempted to enter a plea to stand mute, but (La Rose) wouldn’t accept it.”

The state assigned the case to La Rose after 38th District Court Judge Carl Gerds recused himself from the proceedings.

Court Administrator Karen Hydett indicated that, if a plea were entered, the judge could accept it at the Jan. 4 court date, but said she couldn’t offer much more detail on what would transpire at the preliminary exam. “It will either be held or it will get bound over at that time,” she said.

Stopczynski, who was released on a $1,000 personal bond directly following his Nov. 19 arraignment, appeared somber while awaiting the start of the pretrial conference.

“The worst feeling a police officer can possibly have is being on the other side of the fence,” Gibson said.

Prosecuting Attorney Cory Newman, of the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office, was assigned the case. Attempts to reach Newman for comment were not returned at press time.