Goodrich woman sentenced for violating judge order
Pontiac – — A Goodrich woman suspected of using a Facebook account to contact a juror deliberating her boyfriend’s fate in a drug trial last summer was sentenced to 45 days in jail Friday for violating a judge’s order forbidding contact with the boyfriend.
Oakland Circuit Judge Martha Anderson dismissed Brianna Travato’s contempt charge for allegedly contacting a juror on the condition she plead guilty to violating a condition of her bond by contacting her boyfriend, Samuel Misko, 22, of Goodrich, who was convicted of drug and weapons offenses.
The judge ordered her remanded to the Oakland County jail for 45 days.
Taped phone conversations at the Oakland County Jail show Trovato had a conversation with Misko just one hour after the judge forbade it on Aug. 21. Letters and photos from Trovato were also found in Misko’s jail cell.
“I don’t know how much emphatic I could have been,” Anderson told Trovato on Friday. “It seems to me you didn’t care what I said and you were going to choose to do what you wanted to do in flagrant disregard of court orders.”
Trovato, 22, apologized to the judge before she was handcuffed and led off to jail. Anderson could have sentenced her to up to 93 days in jail for contempt.
“I think the judge had to send a message to Brianna and the public, but 45 days in jail is pretty excessive,” said Trovato’s attorney, Edward Bajoka, outside the courtroom.
Bajoka had unsuccessfully argued for probation, hoping to spare his client jail. He told Anderson Trovato made a “big bad mistake” but has personal and medical issues that should have been considered. Trovato’s mother died shortly after the trial, her sister is now pregnant and Trovato has a medical condition that can result in seizures.
“She is also employed and going to school,” he said. “All of this will be put in jeopardy by incarceration.”
Assistant prosecutor Beth Hand told Anderson that Trovato’s actions were “egregious” and represented “no greater disrespect for the court and the position (Anderson) holds.”
Trovato was arrested in August after a juror in Misko’s drug trial told Anderson he had received an email request from Trovato asking him to “friend” her on Facebook. Trovato had been sitting in court every day during the trial. Anderson set a $2,000 bond for Trovato, with specific conditions of no contact with Misko or through third parties.
Misko was arrested in 2013 after officers raided his Genesee County home and seized marijuana, cash, drug paraphernalia and guns. He faces up to seven years on the drug charges and two years mandatory prison time for weapons offenses.