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A Kalamazoo court dismisses the auto theft case against trafficking survivor Stacy Chambliss

Courtroom with judge in the front partly obscured by screens, Stacy Chambliss on a monitor, one person in casual dress standing at the right
Leona Larson
Stacy Chambliss appeared in court remotely on Monday.

The decision Monday came after Chambliss paid $845 in restitution to the owner of a vehicle she says she took under duress.

A Kalamazoo judge dismissed an auto theft case against Stacy Chambliss, formerly of Kalamazoo, on Monday.

In January, Chambliss agreed to pay restitution to the owner of the car she took from a Bronson Hospital parking lot in 2019. Human trafficking advocates confirm they covered the $845 amount on her behalf.

On Monday, Chambliss appeared remotely in 9th Circuit Court before Judge Pamela Lightvoet.

“We're here for sentencing on a misdemeanor. And if everything was paid, it would be dismissed. My understanding is it has been paid, is that correct?” Lightvoet asked.

The ruling resolves the final criminal charge against Chambliss, who was trafficked in 2019. Chambliss’ attorney Ellen Christie is with the Kalamazoo Defender’s Office.

“It’s been a long road, but I’m very glad that this case ended with dismissal for Stacy and that she can hopefully put this behind her," she said.

In court, Christie asked Judge Lightvoet to allow Chambliss to read a prepared statement. The judge denied that request because the case was being dismissed.

Chambliss says overall, she is pleased with the outcome of the case. But she added that she is disappointed that she was not allowed to read a statement for the official record.

“The prosecutor's office is aware of my trafficking experience. And I’ve been working with detectives since 2019 on my case," she wrote in her prepared remarks, which she shared with WMUK. "I am still hopeful that my traffickers will be legally held accountable for their actions and their coercive control that forced me and many others to commit crimes.”

The dismissal means the case will not appear on most searches of Chambliss’ record.

Chambliss is the subject of the WMUK documentary “Nowhere to Go: How the system failed a human trafficking survivor."Charges have not yet been filed against her accused traffickers.

Leona has worked as a journalist for most of her life - in radio, print, television and as journalism instructor. She has a background in consumer news, special projects and investigative reporting.