Archived Story

Attorney makes plea in firearms case

Published 9:26am Friday, July 18, 2014

An Ironton attorney indicted on firearms charges in January pleaded guilty Thursday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Retired Jackson County Judge Leonard Holtzapfel presided over the case.

Jason Smith, of 116 N. Sixth St., pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree count of attempted illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises. That charge was amended from a third-degree count of illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises. An additional charge of third-degree having weapons under a disability was dismissed as part of a plea negotiation.

Also a part of the plea agreement, special prosecuting attorney John Haas, of Scioto County, recommended treatment in lieu of conviction.

Treatment in lieu of conviction means a defendant has the opportunity to successfully complete a court-approved alcohol or drug treatment program. If the program is completed, the case against the defendant will be dismissed.

If the defendant fails to complete the program or violates any of the court’s orders, that person could be sentenced to prison.

In Smith’s case, the maximum prison sentence for the fourth-degree felony is 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Holtzapfel advised Smith that the court did not have to agree with that recommendation, but would wait to receive a report from the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program before a final sentence is made. That date has not yet been set.

OLAP is an nonprofit organization that helps attorneys and judges obtain treatment for substance abuse, chemical dependency, addiction, and mental health issues.

Haas said OLAP will work up an assessment and treatment plan for Smith.

Smith’s charges stem from a July 2013 incident at the Fuzzy Duck in Ironton in which he was assaulted. Smith had a gun on him at the time.

Smith testified at the trial of his assailant, Robert Harper, that he had placed his gun in his waistband because he knew Harper was coming to the bar to possibly confront him.

Harper was subsequently found guilty of second-degree felonious assault and sentenced to six years in prison.

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