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Roseville judge gets probation in hit-and-run crash

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Judge Catherine Steenland at 39th District Court in Roseville, May 4, 2017.

A Macomb County judge was sentenced Friday to a year of probation and a 90-day suspended sentence on charges over a 2017 hit-and-run crash in Roseville.

Catherine Steenland, a judge in 39th District Court in Roseville, received the sentences in 72nd District Court in Marine City.

Steenland also was ordered to attend substance abuse counseling, pay a $1,000 fine, serve 100 hours of community service and refrain from using alcohol and drugs while on probation.

Steenland declined to speak at her sentencing, saying only to the judge:  "I'm sorry that I'm here today, taking up your time."

Her lawyer, Stephen Rabaut, addressed the court and said his client accepts responsibility for her actions.

Last month, Steenland pleaded no contest to failing to stop at the scene of a personal injury accident and failing to report an accident. Both charges are misdemeanors. Failing to stop carries a penalty of up to one year in jail while failing to report is punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

Authorities said the incident occurred at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 25, 2017, near McKinnon Street in Roseville. 

A 31-year-old Roseville man told police his car was struck by a red sedan driven by a woman who drove away. The man provided officers with the car's license plate number and a description of the incident. 

Michigan State Police investigated and identified Steenland as the suspected driver of the sedan.

In January, the Michigan Attorney General's Office referred her case to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office after Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith recused his office from it.

On Friday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy called Steenland's crimes "disturbing." 

"The alleged actions of this judge are disturbing," Worthy said in a statement. "A judge is the ultimate example of one who should be held to the highest standards of the law.”

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In 2008, Steenland was charged with one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in Ogemaw County after getting stuck in a ditch while driving in Mills Township.

Michigan State Police troopers arrested her on suspicion of drunken driving.

She was later charged with one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Officials said it was her first offense.

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A court sentenced Steenland to six months probation after she pleaded guilty to the charge. The Michigan Supreme Court suspended her for 90 days without pay.

Steenland was elected to the 39th District Court in Roseville in 2002.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez