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Charge against Sand Lake Village president dismissed

By Judy Reed

A charge against Sand Lake Village President Mollie Doerr for signing her name twice to a recall petition has been dismissed by the court, and she has instead been referred to Kent County’s diversion program.

Doerr was charged with MCLA 168.9544—Recall Petition Signing with Multiple Names for signing the recall petition twice for former trustee Rachel Gokey—once under her maiden name and once under her married name. 

Both names were struck from the recall petition, which means her signatures did not contribute to Gokey’s recall and subsequent election loss last month. 

Contrary to misinformation posted by political rivals on social media, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said Doerr was not charged with election fraud, or voter fraud, nor did she plead guilty to any charge. “It was simply sent to the diversion program, no plea,” he said.

The order of nolle prosequi, dismissal of charges by the prosecutor, was signed by Judge Sara Smolenski on November 23, 2021.

“We did issue charges, but subsequently it has been referred to our diversion program. So there is nothing in court at this time. We often use diversion for non-violent, first-time offenses, of which this is one. It did involve signing the petition once with her maiden name, and another with her married name, so there is a question as to if there was even a violation of the law given these specific facts and circumstances. All things considered, the diversion program seemed like a good option,” he explained.

“When we divert a case it goes to court services. The person has to report; once again depends on what court services determines, could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. It’s kind of like being on probation, in addition to reporting, they cannot use alcohol, drugs, stay out of trouble, pay any restitution for their crime and pay for the program.”

Other rhetoric circulating on social media states that “If she doesn’t complete her mandated counseling, she will have an automatic felony record with the possibility of 5 years in jail.” Becker said he doesn’t know where that information came from.

The Post asked Doerr for a statement about the case. 

“Contrary to what has been posted about me on social media and in a letter to the Village Council, I did not enter a guilty plea to the charge of voter fraud. In fact, I entered a NOT guilty plea to recall petition signing with multiple names (one my married name, one my maiden name),” she said.

“On October 22, 2021, the Kent County Prosecutor moved to dismiss the charge against me as I have been referred to a diversion program. The Judge signed the order dismissing the case against me on October 23, 2021. I trust that no further defamatory remarks will be made against me moving forward and will make no further comment on the subject matter. As a dedicated public servant, I look forward to continuing to serve those in my community.”

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