Lawyer makes a deal for drug court

May 14—TRAVERSE CITY — Local attorney William Dane Carey, 34, is likely to learn Monday if a plea deal he's accepting will eliminate the worst of the felony drug charges he's facing.

The Traverse City man, a Rising Star of Michigan's Super Lawyers in 2022, has pleaded guilty to two of five charges against him.

During what was supposed to be a preliminary examination Friday afternoon, Carey and his lawyer, Shawn Worden, appeared before 86th District Court Judge Robert Cooney and accepted a plea deal offered by the prosecutor's office.

Carey said he was guilty of the fourth count, possession of methamphetamine, a 10-year felony, and the fifth count, using a computer to commit a crime, a felony with a maximum penalty of four to 10 years in prison.

Those charges stemmed from a Traverse Narcotics Team raid of Carey's Sixth Street residence in November.

During the hearing, Worden asked Carey if it was true that law enforcement officers found plastic packaging in his study that day with the residue of methamphetamine on it.

"Yes," he replied.

"Did you, in fact, use the substance in the packaging and place the packaging in the trash?" Worden asked.

Carey confirmed that he did.

"Prior to that time, is it true that you went online to access the 'dark web,' to illegally purchase Adderall pills?" Worden asked.

Carey confirmed that he had.

In the TNT raid in November, Detective Lt. Misty Long-Birgy said her team found a package addressed to Carey that contained 335 pills.

The pills tested positive for methamphetamine, according to Michigan State Police.

If Carey is able to complete a successful year of probation in the drug court program, both of those charges would become misdemeanors, Worden said.

At that point, the new charges on his record would be possession of an analogue, which is a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail, and use of a computer to commit a misdemeanor, which also has a maximum of one year in jail.

According to Michigan state statutes, an analogue is a drug similar to an illegal narcotic, but can be obtained using a valid prescription. In Carey's case, the substance was illegal Adderall pills.

To the first three counts for which he was originally arraigned in March — delivery and/or manufacture of methamphetamine, maintaining a drug house, and using a computer to commit a crime, a 20-year felony — he pleaded not guilty.

Carey is expected to find out if he will be accepted into Judge Cooney's drug court program on Monday morning.

The judge said that program would involve Carey serving one year of probation through the 13th Circuit Court and submitting to substance testing. After that first year, Cooney said Carey also could face an additional two years of probation through the 86th District Court.

If he is accepted in that program, Carey's sentencing is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. June 20 in 13th Circuit Court.

If he is not accepted in the program, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Devin Roberts said Carey would have the option of rescinding his plea and facing trial on the charges.