Attorney Jodi Switalski and Amy Buchanan appear before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews during Buchanan’s sentencing June 10.

Attorney Jodi Switalski and Amy Buchanan appear before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews during Buchanan’s sentencing June 10.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Smith Middle School administrator sentenced to probation for robbing student’s home

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published June 19, 2019

 Amy Buchanan hugs a supporter outside the courtroom following her sentencing June 10.

Amy Buchanan hugs a supporter outside the courtroom following her sentencing June 10.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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TROY — Former Smith Middle School Assistant Principal Amy Buchanan, who pleaded no contest to second-degree home invasion, was sentenced June 10 to two years of probation, with credit for two days of jail time served.

Police said that when they located Buchanan and arrested her for home invasion last summer, she reportedly told officers that she had been looking for prescription pills in the home.

According to the police report, she may have been familiar with the home because she had driven a student there earlier in the day.

Buchanan’s attorney, Jodi Switalski, told Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Cheryl Matthews at Buchanan’s sentencing that after surgeries that left her in pain, Buchanan became addicted to doctor-prescribed opioids, which then were cut off.

“This started with a doctor’s script,” Switalski said.

“Amy has no prior criminal history and is an outstanding pillar of the community,” Switalski said, noting that Buchanan has tested clean on court-ordered drug tests since she was charged. “She babysits for students. She’s very active in the recovery community. She has lost absolutely everything — her job, retirement, the right to vote. She chose to plead instead of challenging the facts of the case.”

Weeping at moments, Buchanan spoke at her sentencing, acknowledging that no one from the victim’s family was present. She apologized, saying she regrets her actions and understands that the victim’s “sense of security and trust were impacted.”

“You were trained to educate and protect children,” Matthews said, noting that Buchanan’s actions were “drug-driven, not violent. You shook a family’s sense of security.”

Buchanan is to have no contact with the victim’s family and to continue to be drug tested.

After the sentencing, Switalski said that while she was not making excuses, it only takes 2 1/2 to five days to become dependent on opioids. “That’s what happened in Amy’s case,” Switalski said.

Switalski said she believes entry without permission, a misdemeanor, would have been an appropriate charge, but that Matthews “did a tremendous job.”

Bloomfield Township resident Tony Spagunolo was one of Buchanan’s approximately 30 supporters at the sentencing.

“She was my babysitter,” he said.

“That’s not Amy,” he said, referring to Buchanan’s home invasion. “The drug took over.”

“She’s not a criminal. She committed a crime,” Switalski added. “She does truly hope the family will forgive her. Amy is speaking all over the country. She is very optimistic.”

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