Former Douglas City Councilman Again Arrested & Charged With Illegally Entering Stranger's Home
Former Douglas city councilman Eric Smith appears to have a problem with entering other people’s homes without permission.
The troubled Smith, 42, was arrested and charged again with allegedly breaking and entering a dwelling in Douglas on Sept. 23.
According to authorities, Smith did not have permission of the owner of that residence to enter it.
Smith was arrested Oct. 19 by police and arraigned in Allegan County District Court on Oct. 20 on the misdemeanor charge.
If convicted, Smith faces up to 90 days in the county jail.
During his arraignment, Smith entered a plea of not guilty and the judge released him on a $100 personal recognizance bond.
He was ordered to appear for a pre-trial hearing on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 at 9:15 a.m.
In another similar case, Smith illegally entered another person’s home in Douglas in 2014.
In that case, Smith eventually pleaded guilty to breaking and entering the home of Maria de Leon in May 2014. According to de Leon at the time, she said Smith twice entered her home while she was away and that she had never given him permission to do so.
The first incident had Smith entering the home and was then confronted by contractors who were working there. They asked him to leave and he did.
The second time, on another occasion, Smith went inside de Leon’s home while she was away claiming he heard a loud smoke alarm blaring and he proceeded to take out the unit’s batteries and left them on a table with a note for de Leon telling her what he did.
Calling the police, de Leon also notified Douglas City Council members of Smith’s actions, asking that they remove him from office.
Those city officials, at the time, said the law did not allow them to remove a sitting council person.
On Dec. 4, 2015, Smith resigned his council seat where he had served seven years. That resignation came only five days before he was arraigned on six counts of writing a check with no bank account that previous August. At that time he served 21 days in the Allegan County Jail until he was finally able to post bond on Dec. 30.
On March 1, 2016, he entered a guilty plea to one count of writing a check with insufficient funds between $100 and $500. Additional charges were dismissed as part of that plea bargain arrangement.
As a result, the judge ordered him sentenced to time served, pay a $500 fine, $275 in fees and $300 in court costs. He was told he would serve 80 days in jail if the court costs and fine were not paid.