A Howell man who used a prosthesis to try to pass someone else’s urine as his own during a drug test avoided additional jail time Thursday.
James Lee Schmaus pleaded with the judge not to give him a jail sentence, saying his family – including three children – could not survive without him because he is the sole provider.
“I’m struggling with my drug use,” said Schmaus, who is on probation for drug-related offenses. “I want to be a better person for my family. … Please give me one more chance.”
Livingston County Judge Miriam Cavanaugh hesitated, but agreed, sentencing Schmaus to the 12 days he has already spent in the county jail. She also ordered that his probation continue under the Swift and Sure program, which means he faces immediate sanction — jail time, the judge said — if he violates his probation conditions again.
“I don’t think you’re done using,” Cavanaugh said bluntly. “I’ll give you a chance. It’s against my better judgment.”
Schmaus, who violated probation 10 days after being placed on probation, told Cavanaugh that “using drugs is not more important than my children,” but Cavanaugh expressed doubt.
“That’s obviously not true or you wouldn’t be before me today,” she said Thursday.
Schmaus said he used a controlled substance while on probation because he “got freaked out” due to a friend’s funeral.
To try to trick the drug test, however, Schmaus used a Whizzinator-like product, which is a synthetic urine device.
Assistant Prosecutor Michael Taylor asked the judge to impose a jail sanction, noting that Schmaus planned his deception attempt.
“He bought a prosthesis to allow him to bring in someone else’s urine for a test,” Taylor said.
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