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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

Friday, April 19, 2019

Suttons Bay Man Sentenced To 37 Months In Federal Prison For Domestic Violence Strangulation Of A Native American Woman

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Joaquin Ramon Alfonseca, 41, from Suttons Bay, Michigan, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for Assault by Strangulation of a Native American woman, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Gordon J. Quist imposed a 3-year term of supervised release that will commence once Alfonseca is released from imprisonment.

          Alfonseca pled guilty on October 15, 2018. He admitted that during an argument, he had used both of his hands to grab the victim by the neck and apply pressure to her neck. This pressure impeded the victim’s normal breathing, and the assault left marks and swelling on the victim’s face and neck. The victim reported that on a prior occasion, Alfonseca had strangled her to the point of unconsciousness. The United States had jurisdiction over the case because it occurred on the reservation of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

          In its sentencing memorandum, the U.S. Attorney’s Office argued in favor of meaningful jail time because assault by strangulation is extremely dangerous and poses great risk to its victims. The United States noted that Alfonseca had a history of domestic violence, and it argued that his conduct in this case was particularly serious because it was part of a pattern of domestic abuse and continued a pattern of abuse involving strangulation and attempted strangulation.

          The Grand Traverse Band Tribal Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean M. Lewis prosecuted the case.


Updated April 19, 2019