Original Case Details
Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Cadotte was recently arraigned in the 50th District Court in Pontiac on a single charge of careless discharge of a firearm causing injury. He was charged for allegedly inadvertent shooting that occurred where he shot a pregnant 16-year-old girl in the shoulder at a traffic stop. The teen was said to have been shot in the right collarbone, and after a few days in the hospital, is now at home recovering.
There has been some contradiction in what has been said about what happened in this case as the initial news release about this incident this past March stated that Deputy Cadotte drew his handgun and fired a shot through the front windshield of the stopped vehicle, and hit the pregnant passenger in the shoulder. The current statement says that after Deputy Cadotte positioned his car during the traffic stop, he exited the vehicle and his gun somehow discharged and the bullet struck the teen. What has been consistent is the allegation that the driver of the stopped vehicle was 15 years old and that she attempted to flee to try to avoid trouble for not having a driver’s license or the permission to use the car that she was driving. The driver took off on foot while her passenger had been wounded from Deputy Cadotte’s bullet.
Criminal Charge Involved
Deputy Cadotte has been charged with a single count of careless discharge of a firearm causing injury or death. This charge is a high-court misdemeanor that carries up to two years in state prison, or a fine up to $2,000, or up to one year in the county jail. The choice between these options is within the discretion of the judge. A conviction on this type of a charge requires the prosecutor to show that the Deputy acted either carelessly, recklessly, or negligently and either caused or allowed a gun under his immediate control to discharge (shoot) and either kill or at least injure another person. The main distinction here is in the defendant’s intent. In a charge like this, the prosecutor is asserting that the gun was not shot on purpose by the deputy, but it somehow went off without the deputy intending for it to do so.
While a “high-court misdemeanor” is a misdemeanor by name, it is truly a felony charge. A conviction for a high-court misdemeanor can land you in state prison for longer than one year and can be the underlying felony charge which can lead to a felony firearm charge if a gun was also alleged to have been used during the commission of the high-court misdemeanor. A high-court misdemeanor like what is charged in the current case will go through the same court process that a felony does, where the defendant has a right to a probable cause hearing to see if the case should continue to circuit court for further proceedings. A true misdemeanor charge originates in District Court and never goes anywhere else. A high-court misdemeanor, like a felony, starts at the District Court level and (if probable cause is found) then continues to trial at the Circuit Court level. This case has a number of implications as the shooting victim of the case has already made it clear that she will be filing a lawsuit against the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department for the actions of Deputy Cadotte.
Any Further Questions?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or are being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.