Misconduct in Office: Charges, Penalties & Aggressive Defense

Law gavel depicting misconduct in office.

Are you being investigated for misconduct in office?

As an example, let’s take a look at the case of Michigan Police Chief Shane Bartlett. If all you read is the news report about him facing three felony charges in connection with helping his wife, Kellie Bartlett, to file a false police report, you will be missing a significant portion of the story.

Chief Bartlett, who has been placed on paid administrative lead, is vigorously denying his charges. He is in a tough place. Investigators have gained access to his personal devices; and for other reasons.

What would you do if you found out your wife was cheating on you with one of your deputies, but she tells you she was the victim of a sexual assault?

Do women lie about sexual assault?

The truth, as most criminal defense attorneys unfortunately know, is that women and girls do lie about sexual assault.

The idea that victims of sexual assault never lie has made its way into some law enforcement offices as a result of the Me Too movement.

However, Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor Pratt has come down pretty decisively on one side.

Information released from the Barry County Prosecutor’s Office tells the story. Kellie was working as a clerk in the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office when in 2015, she began a relationship with the deputy.

He ended it in early 2017 and asked her to stop contacting him. She didn’t.

He reported it to his superiors and detectives began to investigate the alleged stalking.

By early 2018, Kellie was no longer working for Eaton County and filed a false rape report alleging a rape had occurred in March of 2017.

Kellie then goes on to create fake Facebook accounts using the deputy’s identity and, apparently, some sexually explicit material in an attempt to bolster her false rape account.

She and her accomplice Lisa Underhill (an ex-girlfriend of the deputy) were both charged with ten felonies. Underhill plead no contest to one misdemeanor in exchange for all of her other charges to be dropped.

What About Chief Shane Barlett?

Investigators say they became suspicious early in the investigation after some statements he made.

They then gained access to his personal devices and some damning communications with his wife.

He is facing three felony charges for the same conduct:

  • One felony count of common law misconduct in office.
  • One of lying to a peace officer of a violent crime investigation.
  • One of false report of a felony.

Penalties for Misconduct in Office

A misconduct in office charge more commonly deals with crimes like bribery or accepting a bribe, embezzlement, extortion, or willful neglect of duty.

However, the law does spell out a penalty for any other crime not outlined by those charges.

Barlett could be facing up to 5 years in prison and or $10,000 in fines for his part in this false report.

Other misconduct in office felonies include:


Up to 4 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

Accepting a Bribe

Forfeiture of office and permanent disqualification for public office. Imprisonment for up to 10 years and or a fine of up to $5,000.


A prison sentence of up to 10 years and $5,000 in fines in addition to restitution.


A prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Willful Neglect of Duty

Up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.

In addition to these, this law covers violations of conflict of interest.

If a violation is found, it’s punishable by a ⅔ vote of the legislature in whatever manner the legislature determines. Retaliation for reporting a violation is also subject to a fine of $500.

Defense: Contact Criminal Lawyer, David J. Kramer

False reporting of rape should be investigated regularly and prosecuted as severely as this case because of the potential it has to destroy a man’s life.

We need to have a system where real victims can find justice, and those who are lying will not have all the power.

If you are facing misconduct in office charges, it’s imperative that you find an aggressive criminal defense lawyer right away.

Call today