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Probation violator gets prison time



A Mt. Sterling, Ohio man found out Wednesday that not reporting to his probation officer would get him sent back to prison, regardless of who may or may not be waiting for him there.

Justin R. Justice, 32, of 149 W. Main St., Mt. Sterling, was found guilty of violating his probation by failing to report to his probation officer after a community control sanctions trial in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Justice was sentenced to four years in prison in the summer of 2010 after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking.

He was granted judicial release at some point during his incarceration and sent to the STAR Community Justice Center to complete a rehabilitation program. After release from STAR, he was placed on community control sanctions, also known as probation.

Adult Probation Officer Lynne Stewart testified Wednesday Justice had not reported to the Adult Probation Agency office since May 3, 2011.

Justice said after completing the program at the STAR Community Justice Center, he went to his native Highland County and found a job as a groundskeeper for a campground.

He had no way to travel between Highland County and Lawrence County. He said he had called the APA office and had left messages. He said he did get permission to travel to Highland County shortly after being released from STAR.

Stewart testified that while Justice did get permission to travel, he was given written instructions that stipulate the travel was for a specific period of time.

“He was supposed to come back and explain if he had a job or could establish residency there,” Stewart explained. Stewart said Justice did not do so.

Justice testified someone at the A.P.A. told him he only had to report once a month. Justice also pleaded that if he were sent back to prison, he would be killed.

“They put a hit on me,” Justice told Bowling. “If I go back I would be dead in three weeks.”

Justice told authorities in Lawrence County while he was in prison, he had been instrumental in helping catch a corrections officer who was doing something wrong and had been punished. He claimed he had been assaulted and harassed after the incident and now fears if he goes back to prison there would be further retaliation.

Justice’s attorney, Philip Heald, suggested his client be sent back to STAR and be allowed to complete the facility’s relapse program.

Bowling sentenced Justice to two and a half years in prison.

Dannie Martin, 38, of 937 Jackson Ave., Huntington, W.Va., admitted violating his probation by failing to report to his probation officer and getting arrested on new charges of fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bowling sentenced him to the balance of time he had reserved at the time of his conviction, which is 97 days in prison. When a person pleads guilty or is convicted of a crime and sentenced to probation, they are told they have a certain amount of prison time “reserved” in the event they violate their probation.

Herschel Vanhoose, 38, whose address is listed as “unknown” on court documents, pleaded guilty to one count of failure to notify of change of address. Vanhoose is a registered sex offender and as such, is required to registers with the sheriff’s office and notify authorities if he moves.

Vanhoose told Bowling he was homeless for a while and that was why he did not change his registration.

“I didn’t have anywhere to go,” Vanhoose told Bowling. “Nowhere to sleep, nowhere to eat, nothing.”

Bowling sentenced him to four years community control sanctions under intensive supervised probation (CCS/ISP), 30 days in jail and 200 hours of community service.

Anthony Burks, 44, of 856 County Road 155, South Point, pleaded guilty on a bill of information to two counts of felony domestic violence and one count of misdemeanor resisting arrest. Bowling sentenced Burks to four years CCS/ISP and ordered him to complete 200 hours of community service.

Kenneth Smith, 48, whose permanent address is unknown, admitted he violated his probation by getting into trouble again and by failing to pay court costs, supervisory fees and fines from his first case.

He was sentenced to 19 months in prison, fined $1,250 and ordered to forfeit $1,770 that was in his possession at the time of the arrest on the new charge. Smith also pleaded guilty to the one new count of trafficking in marijuana.

Bowling sentenced him to 19 months in prison.

Edward S. Holmes Jr., 33, of 910 S. Eighth St., pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor theft that was amended from earlier charges of felony theft and tampering with evidence.

He was sentenced to 180 days in jail but given credit for time served; the remaining days were suspended and Holmes was then placed on two years’ probation. Bowling also ordered Holmes to perform 200 hours of community service.