Arraignment waived after defendant reveals past prison time

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published October 30, 2019

 Stratford Newton

Stratford Newton


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Information that came as a surprise to some resulted in an arraignment being waived.

On Oct. 21, Stratford Newton, of Detroit, appeared in Macomb County Circuit Court for arraignment. He is facing six charges — three felonies and three misdemeanors — for an incident that occurred April 25, partly in Macomb Township.   

That day, Newton, 31, was arrested after fleeing from authorities in Macomb Township. He led police on a chase into St. Clair County, crashing into vehicles and fleeing into the woods.

In court Oct. 21, after a plea arrangement was read, in which Newton would plead guilty to all charges, Circuit Court Judge Michael Servitto asked Newton if he was on probation or parole.

Newton indicated he already served eight years in the federal system for carjacking, something that was news to Macomb County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Eric Sterbis. The 2019 incident was a violation of his federal sentence.

A 2014 release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Michigan indicated Newton was sentenced to 144 months for his role in conspiring with several others to steal high-end vehicles, many by committing armed carjacking, and then retag the vehicles for sale.

Servitto said sentencing guidelines could be dramatically different with that information factored in.

Newton’s attorney, Thomas Spitzer, suggested to adjourn the case two weeks so the sentencing guidelines would be correct, which was granted.    

Arraignment was waived, and Newton is due back in court Nov. 4.

Newton’s felony charges from this year’s incident are receiving and concealing stolen property from a motor vehicle, third-degree fleeing a police officer, and uttering and publishing counterfeit bills. His misdemeanor charges are driving with a suspended, revoked or denied license; failure to stop at the scene of a property damage accident; and false pretenses between $200 and $1,000.

In regard to uttering and publishing, and false pretenses, Spitzer said Newton was trying to purchase a phone in April and it was alleged that phony $50 bills were used.

“He then took off and police were flagged down and the police followed,” Spitzer said. “Mr. Newton didn’t stop right away. He traveled from Chesterfield over to Macomb Township.”

The incident began when a deputy observed a white Dodge Charger reportedly operated by Newton driving recklessly on Hall Road near Gratiot Avenue.

As the deputy attempted to make a traffic stop on the Charger, it began to flee, crashing into two vehicles as it attempted to drive between them.

The deputy stopped at the crash scene to check the occupants of the vehicles. One of the drivers in the crash was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Deputies again located the vehicle and pursued it eastbound on Interstate 94, where the pursuit was terminated. The Charger was damaged from the crash and appeared to have lost a tire, continuing east on I-94.

During the search, it was discovered that the white 2019 Dodge Charger was stolen out of Detroit.

A couple hours after police were alerted, Newton was located hiding under a tarp in an above-ground pool at a residence on Deer Meadow Lane in St. Clair, around 25 miles northeast of where the pursuit began.

Spitzer did not return a call for comment by press time for clarification on Newton’s previous time served.