Guzikowski not subject to lifetime electronic monitoring
OSCEOLA COUNTY — A former Osceola County educator convicted of having a sexual relationship with a student will not be subjected to lifetime electronic monitoring because of a sentencing error.
On Aug. 27, 2007, Troy Guzikowski, who previously worked as the assistant principal of Reed City High School, was convicted of one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Mecosta County and one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Osceola County. Guzikowki pleaded guilty to the counts, having admitted to having sex with a teenage girl.
In a joint hearing for both cases, Guzikowski was sentenced to serve between seven to 11 years in prison. He was released from prison in June 2014 and remains on parole.
Guzikowski also was subject to lifetime electronic monitoring because of his conviction; however, that provision was not included in his original judgments of sentence. When the error was realized by Michigan Department of Correction staff in 2014, amended judgments were issued in both cases, without notice or appearance by Guzikowski, according to an application for leave to appeal which was filed in November 2014.
In the application for leave to appeal, Guzikowski's attorney, Jason Elmore, noted the lifetime monitoring, which became effective by law in Michigan in 2006, was applicable to Guzikowki's case. However, the court failed to advise his client of the requirement, he argued. Elmore also stated the court amended the judgments seven years after the sentence was issued without a hearing when the court did not have authority to do so.
In 2015, the Michigan Court of Appeals denied the application for leave to appeal. The Michigan Supreme Court first held the application in abeyance pending the outcome of a similar case — People v Comer — which was decided in June. With that case settled, the Michigan Supreme Court issued two orders on Oct. 6 in Guzikowski's cases.
In lieu of granting leave to appeal, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled to vacate the amended judgments of sentence in both the Mecosta and Osceola 49th Circuit Courts, sending the case back to the lower courts to reinstate the original sentence, which did not call for lifetime monitoring.
The court wrote that correcting an invalid sentence by adding a statutorily mandated term is a substantive correction that a trial court may make on its own initiative only before judgment is entered. In this case, the trial court did not have authority to amend the judgment of sentence after entry to add a provision for lifetime electronic monitoring, the court wrote.
Mecosta County Prosecutor Brian Thiede said the oversight involved paperwork that had not been updated. Guzikowski is one of a few similar cases he's heard of throughout the state.
"He was sentenced around the time the lifetime electronic monitoring became law and it was just not in our routine documents," Thiede said. "When the court became aware of it, a note was added to correct the mistake, but the Supreme Court has ruled the trial court can't do that on their own."
Guzikowki is still subject to requirements of the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.