Terry Nolan, prominent Muskegon attorney, sentenced for cocaine use

MUSKEGON, MI – Terry Joel Nolan, one of Muskegon’s highest-profile attorneys, pleaded guilty as charged Tuesday to using cocaine.

There was no plea or sentencing agreement with the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, and no sentence-cap commitment from the judge. Sentencing by Muskegon County Circuit Judge Annette R. Smedley was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 24.

Nolan, 55, of Norton Shores pleaded guilty Tuesday morning, June 18, to cocaine use with a double penalty as a second or subsequent offense. That’s a high-court misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison.

Because it’s not a felony, there are no state sentencing guidelines. That will leave the sentencing decision completely up to Smedley.

At some point after sentencing, the State Bar of Michigan will decide on suspending Nolan’s license to practice law. Some suspension is expected, with the length of time being up to the bar’s Attorney Discipline Board.

The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office is legally required to notify the State Bar about Nolan’s conviction now that he has pleaded guilty. Nolan’s attorney, Edward G. Anderson, said he also has notified the bar about the plea.

Nolan is already prohibited from practicing law on an interim basis. The Michigan Attorney Discipline Board on May 6 temporarily placed Nolan’s law license on “inactive status” with the sole exception of the Maurice Darnell Clemons murder case, which concluded with Clemons’ sentencing Monday, June 17.

“I’ve been in recovery for a long time. I had a very brief relapse,” Nolan said after his plea. “I got right back in the (recovery) program, and I’m going to do the best I can to help anybody else with this kind of a problem. That’s my goal, to use my experience and the platform to try to help other people if I can.”

Legally speaking, “whatever the consequences are, I’m just going to accept,” Nolan said. “I’m doing what I have to do to take care of myself, and doing the best I can to help out my two former associates.” Attorneys Matthew Kacel and Kevin Wistrom, Nolan’s former associates, have been taking many of the cases Nolan formerly handled.

Nolan previously lost his law license for seven years over earlier convictions, regaining it only in late 2009. Since that time, until his arrest this year, he was active as a criminal-defense attorney.

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Terry Nolan, prominent Muskegon attorney, sentenced for cocaine use

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3 Responses to “Terry Nolan, prominent Muskegon attorney, sentenced for cocaine use”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Oh my gosh — it almost seems like there aren't any good guys anymore!

  2. Steve Says:

    I had a lawyer who turned out to be on cocaine and went on a big binge.I just bet it happens more often than we think!

  3. Thelma Says:

    I had a judge who was a cokie and got caught on the take!He cost me!I was at his sentencing, but didn't take much pleasure from it.

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