Two defendants face June sentencings following program termination

Last updated: April 30. 2014 4:41PM - 3345 Views
By - ashepherd@civitasmedia.com



Defense attorney Lee Koogler, left, and assistant prosecutor Ross Greer, right, are shown with Judge Rocky Coss, center, during a video hearing in the common pleas courtroom on Wednesday.
Defense attorney Lee Koogler, left, and assistant prosecutor Ross Greer, right, are shown with Judge Rocky Coss, center, during a video hearing in the common pleas courtroom on Wednesday.
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A Leesburg man will get the opportunity to prove he can be “an asset to the community” after he was granted judicial release from prison during a hearing by video from the Chillicothe Correctional Institution.


Chris E. Smith, 47, pleaded guilty to illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a third-degree felony, last year and in September was sentenced to 30 months in prison.


On Wednesday, Smith apologized to the community for his actions and told Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss that he would like the opportunity to prove himself to be “an asset to the community.”


The judicial release was granted and Smith will be required to successfully complete the STAR program and any recommended aftercare. Additionally, Smith will be under three years of community control supervision.


He will be conveyed to the treatment facility upon his release from prison.


In other proceedings, two defendants admitted to violating the conditions of their treatment in lieu of conviction and each will be sentenced in June following updated presentence investigations.


With treatment in lieu of conviction, a plea of guilty is stayed while the defendant is in treatment, and if treatment and community control sanctions are successfully completed, the criminal charge is dismissed. However, if the conditions of the treatment in lieu are not met, prosecution resumes on the criminal charge against the defendant.


On Wednesday, Heather N. Conley, 25, of Hillsboro, admitted to violating the conditions of her intervention in lieu of conviction, granted in March.


According to the court, Conley has not reported to probation or done anything required of her since that March court appearance. The court has accepted her plea of guilty to fifth-degree felony heroin possession and Conley will be sentenced in June following a presentence investigation. Additionally, a STAR assessment was ordered to be done.


Similarly, Sarah E. Cooper, 21, of Hillsboro, admitted to violating the conditions of intervention in lieu of conviction which was granted in September. Her guilty plea to fifth-degree felony aggravated possession of methamphetamine has been accepted by the court.


According to the notification report filed with the court that Coss reviewed in the hearing, Cooper has associated with people she was ordered by the court to have no contact with, was arrested in February, had a positive drug screen and did not provide a prescription to probation, among other allegations.


As with Conley, Coss ordered a presentence investigation and set sentencing for next month.


Additionally, Coss ordered her to undergo an assessment at FRS and follow any recommendations, but he cautioned the defendant that her actions between now and the sentencing date will have a direct bearing on the sentence she receives.


Finally, Charles Warner Jr., 32, of Hillsboro, was sentenced to three years community control. He pleaded guilty to fifth-degree felony receiving stolen property in April.


Angela Shepherd can be reached at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @ashepherdHTG.


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