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Judge denies request for jailhouse wedding

News Photo by Julie Riddle Donald Grooms, one of at least 11 people arrested on drug charges in Alpena County in January, appears in the 26th Circuit Court on Monday.

ALPENA — Two jail inmates will have to wait to tie the knot after a request for a jailhouse wedding was turned down in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court on Monday.

Nikolas Niezgoda, an inmate of the Alpena County Jail since Jan. 5, requested through attorney Ron Bayot that he be allowed to marry female inmate Aaron Bissonette.

Niezgoda and Bissonette were arrested together Jan. 5 when Alpena Police Department officers stopped the car in which the two were riding as it left a suspected Alpena Township drug house.

The two, and third passenger Stehnes Yennior, were arrested for multiple drug charges including possession and delivery of fentanyl and conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine.

Bayot told Judge Ed Black that keeping the two from marrying would deny them their constitutional rights.

Black disagreed, saying his denial of the motion was only a temporary impediment to the impending nuptials.

The judge questioned why Niezgoda felt a rush to get married after being in jail only since the beginning of the year.

“You’ll have to ask Mr. Niezgoda,” Bayot said. “Love is love.”

According to the American Bar Association, in some circumstances, one spouse may refuse to testify against the other spouse in criminal proceedings.

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Arrested for separate drug charges on the same day as Niezgoda and Bissonette, Devon Churchfield, of Midland, also appeared in Circuit Court on Monday.

After a month-long investigation by the Huron Undercover Narcotics Team, Churchfield was caught in January with a baggie containing almost 15 grams of methamphetamine and was charged with intending to deliver the drugs, Alpena County Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski said in court.

Black granted Churchfield permission to leave the Alpena County Jail to enter residential drug treatment, with the potential of a reduced bond on successful completion of the treatment program.

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Also on Monday, Donald Grooms — one of three people police say were in possession of nearly 100 grams of methamphetamine — made his first appearance before Black, as did Mitchell Brisbois, arrested on a 10-year-old outstanding arrest warrant after a car crash on an icy road.

The men were both arrested in January as part of at least 11 drug-related arrests in Alpena County that month.

Nine of the 11 still reside in the Alpena County Jail.

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