Attorney Doug Springstead honored for 50-year career.

October 17, 2017

Attorney Doug Springstead honored for 50-year career.

#OceanaCountyNews

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — Douglas Springstead was honored recently by the State Bar of Michigan for his 50-year career during a banquet at the Cobo Center in Detroit.

The 75-year-old attorney has had a successful and intruiging career, and three of his four children have followed a similar career path.

Doug’s son, Robert Springstead, is the 27th Circuit Court judge in Hart. His daughter, Julie Springstead Waltz, works as a defense attorney in the Springstead office. His son, Gary Springstead, is a defense attorney for Springstead, Bartish and Borgula Law, PLLC in Grand Rapids and Fremont. Doug’s daughter, Carol Springstead, chose a different field and earned a master’s degree in psychology.

Doug’s daughter-in-law Kathleen Springstead, who is Gary’s wife, is also an attorney. Both had worked previously as FBI agents, he said.

In addition to his four grown children, Doug has six grandchildren.

Doug Springstead at the State Bar of Michigan banquet at Cobo Hall in Detroit.
Photo courtesy of Julie Springstead Waltz.

Both Bob and Gary had previously worked in the Hart office with Doug. Bob served as the Newaygo County prosecutor prior to becoming judge, following in his father’s foot steps. Doug was the Newaygo County prosecutor for nine years early in his career, and those years provided some of the highlights in his profession, he said.

“I handled so many high-profile cases,” he said, including about two dozen murder cases throughout his career. “Every murder case I did was horrific.”

The big difference back then was that the prosecutors often took on the role of investigator, he said. Because the sheriffs often appointed their friends or family members as deputies, they lacked law enforcement skills. So, the prosecutors did the police work on many cases. Doug said he found himself in some precarious situations at times, and once had to utilize his martial arts skills.

As a prosecutor, he was tough on drug enforcement, earning him the nickname, “Drugless Springboard.”

“My opinion has always been if anything takes this country down, it will be drugs.”

Doug graduated from Muskegon High School in 1960 and then gained an associate of arts degree from Muskegon Community College. After attending Wayne State University for two years, Doug went to law school at the Detroit College of Law, which is now Michigan State University. It was the first law school in the Detroit area and the second law school in the State of Michigan.

Doug was admitted to the bar in January of 1967 after passing the bar exam the previous September.

The young attorney quickly landed a job working for Paul Greer in Fremont. He went into private practice in 1977.

After attorneys Anthony Monton and Walter Urick became judges in Oceana County in 1989, Springstead took over the Hart office where he and Julie presently work.

Springstead Law Offices, PC also have an office in Fremont.

Doug Springstead defending a client in 27th Circuit Court in 2015.

Doug partnered with attorney Dave Jaunese in the Hart office. The pair also operated offices in Fremont and Kent City.

The long-time attorney has also handled civil litigation, but said criminal law is his favorite area. Doug has served as the city attorney for both Hart and White Cloud.

Now that Doug is getting older, he has slowed down a bit and works part-time. When asked if Julie is the boss now, he said, “She’s always been the boss,” with his contagious smile and a twinkle in his eye.

One criminal case that stands out in his long list of legal memories is the murder case of former Hart City Councilman Tim Shannon in 2013. Shannon was convicted of second-degree unpremeditated murder for the bathtub drowning of his wife, Lee-Ann Shannon. Doug was retained as Shannon’s defense attorney.

“It was a very, very unusual case,” he said.

Another case that stirs up a lot of memories was a brutal murder case in Newaygo County in which a young girl was sexually assaulted and brutally attacked by a man who murdered the girl’s father. Doug was the prosecutor for the case, and he said he remembers being so angry about what had happened to the victims. The girl, who was stabbed in the temple by the suspect, was about the same age as his daughter at the time.

He maintained a tip log to keep track of his investigation of the case as he and law enforcement searched for the suspect who was at large. The 10-year-old girl was an “amazing witness” in the case, and her detailed description of the suspect helped locate the perpetrator in Indiana. It was the 100th tip in his log that ultimately led to his capture.

A few years after his conviction, the killer rapist was dropped by inmates from the fourth story inside the prison, falling to his death, he said.

“I will never forget that case.”

Doug, who offers compassion and guidance to his clients, said that when you serve as someone’s attorney, you are also their counselor. “If you are any kind of lawyer at all, you counsel them and help them through their problems.”

His firm has a contract with the court system to serve as court-appointed attorneys for indigent defendants.

Doug is licensed to practice in all Michigan courts as well as the US Supreme Court.

“It’s been a real exciting career. You never know who is going to walk through that door.”

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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