EATON — Preble County Common Pleas Court heard cases involving drugs, theft and probation violation Wednesday, Sept. 9. Judge Stephen R. Bruns presided.
Justin Martin, 28, of Anderson, Indiana, was sentenced on charges of theft.
“Mr. Martin has just a horrendous record regarding various types of theft,” Bruns said before sentence was pronounced. “If it weren’t for restrictions imposed by T-CAP, I likely would have adopted the state’s recommendation for a prison sentence.”
T-CAP stands for Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison, a program in which perpetrators convicted of fifth-degree felonies or lower are held in county jail facilities and given access to rehabilitation programs as opposed to being sent to state prisons. Fifth-degree felonies generally consist of nonviolent drug-related offenses.
According to Darke County Common Pleas Court Judge Jonathan P. Hein, the T-CAP program is based on sound social science.
“We’ve known for 20 years that, for that type of person, prison makes them worse,” Hein said. “We’re spending $26,000 a year to send someone somewhere that’s going to make them [more likely to reoffend].”
In accordance with T-CAP guidelines, Bruns sentenced Martin to 120 days in the Preble County Jail, followed by three years of community control. A reserved prison sentence of 12 months could be imposed if Martin fails to complete the terms of his probation.
Also in court Wednesday:
Miranda C. Crowe, 31, of Eaton, was scheduled for a change of plea hearing on charges of aggravated possession of drugs and illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia. Crowe’s attorney, Bridget Woolum, informed the court that Crowe is currently being held in custody in Montgomery County on another charge, however. Judge Bruns continued the hearing pending the defendant’s transfer to Preble County.
Michael S. Henry, 51, of Gratis, appeared for a competency hearing on charges of aggravated possession of drugs, possession of drug abuse instruments and illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia. Judge Bruns denied the defendant’s request to be declared incompetent, citing a report provided by Henry’s physician.
Finally, Jason Lawson, 44, of Lewisburg, was arraigned on charges of aggravated possession of drugs and illegal use or possession of drug paraphernalia. A warrant for Lawson’s arrest was issued after he failed to appear for a previously scheduled arraignment Sept. 4.
“Mr. Lawson, I don’t know what to say to you,” Judge Bruns told the defendant, citing the fact that Lawson had not only failed to appear for an arraignment, but also missed a court-ordered appointment with his probation officer the previous day.
“Apparently you went to Lewisburg to pick up a car before reporting, and wound up being too late,” Bruns said. “Then you decided, ‘Oh, I’ll just hang out for a week instead of calling to explain what happened.’”
Bruns nonetheless declined to have Lawson taken into custody pending his next court appearance on Friday, Sept. 11.
“I’m thinking more of the convenience of the jail staff by doing this,” Bruns told Lawson. “I’m probably going to end up kicking myself for doing it.”
Bruns ordered Lawson to contact his attorney before his appearance on Friday.
“If not, you’re going to be in custody until this is resolved, because I’m not going to be able to rely on you to show up,” Bruns said.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook or Instagram @mproperenglish