For Immediate Release
January 24, 2019
Prosecutor Eric Smith blocks parole release of child sex offender
The Macomb County Circuit Court last Friday reversed the planned parole release of a man convicted of criminal sexual conduct against his 6 year-old niece. He received 22 misconduct tickets since he was incarcerated, including for assault and battery and for threatening behavior.
After learning of prisoner James Swain’s pending release, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric J. Smith filed an emergency motion to appeal the Parole Board’s decision. Judge James M. Biernat, Jr. ruled that the Parole Board abused its discretion in deciding to release Swain.
“Friends and family provided this defendant with places to live. Yet, he repaid that kindness by committing criminal sexual assault against a 6 year-old child, and killing the family dog,” said Smith. “We are pleased with Judge Biernat’s ruling, agreeing with our assertion that Mr. Swain remains a serious threat to the public’s safety.”
James Swain was 25 years-old when he pled guilty to one count of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in 2003 against his 6 year-old niece. He was sentenced to 10 – 25 years. Mr. Swain has been in prison 15 years. He is now 40. The Michigan Parole Board had set a release date of September 26, 2018, but Friday’s court ruling means he will not yet be released.
A 2018 assessment report stated, “…areas of clinically significant concern” are “relationship stability and deviant sexual preference, and his poor problem solving skills and persistent interest in incestuous relations…” Mr. Swain has rarely been crime free as an adult. He was convicted of Animal Killing / Torturing in 1997, at age 19.
Prosecutor Smith has a history of fighting for victims of sex crimes. The legal theory put forth by Smith’s Office is based on an important case his office won before the Court of Appeals in 2013, In re Parole of Craig Cehaich. “We stand vigilant, working to ensure that no person deemed a threat to society is released before he or she can be rehabilitated,” stated Smith.
The Parole Board could consider Mr. Swain for parole eligibility again this summer, or could appeal the decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals.