Former Willard man 'trying to reform his life' gets 11 months in prison

Cary Ashby • Jun 25, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Defendant Michael T. Robinson's assertion that he was doing everything he could to turn his life around fell on deaf ears.

"I'm trying to do the best I can," he said in court Wednesday. "I'm doing everything I can to change my life."

The former Willard man has been paying his child support and working Monday through Saturday, Huron County Assistant Public Defender David Longo said. While noting that his client has a history with drug abuse and alcohol, Longo said he believes Robinson is attempting to turn over a new leaf.

"I think generally he's trying to reform his life," Longo said.

Robinson pleaded guilty May 3 to receiving stolen property and forgery for a 2008 incident involving a relative's checks. The defendant said that was when he hit bottom.

The victim also reported the theft of a chainsaw and a flatscreen TV; Robinson vehemently denied stealing the TV.

By Wednesday's hearing, he'd repaid $600 of restitution to a local bank.

In Richland County, there is a pending driving under the influence (DUI) charge -- one that Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Dina Shenker said originated from a "minor incident."

Longo said he doubts the charge will even "stick." After a hit-skip accident where the other driver fled the scene, he said Robinson went home and started drinking heavily because he was "so rattled."

"That's when the police arrived at his house," Longo said. "He's been to 24 AA meetings since that incident occurred."

Shenker, citing feedback from Richland County probation officers, said Robinson has been doing well and they recommended the court here continue him on community control sanctions. The prosecutor also said the defendant has passed all of his drug screens.

Robinson also successfully completed a six-month program at a community-based corrections facility, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

But Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway wasn't buying it. He sentenced the 47-year-old Findlay man to 11 months in prison.

Robinson displayed little emotion. Longo, who was visibly upset, slammed his fist on the table in front of him. During another short outburst from the defense attorney, Conway said he didn't want to see another such "demonstration."

While reciting a laundry list of charges and convictions Robinson has had over the years, Conway said the defendant's lengthy criminal record showed he wasn't a good candidate for local community control sanctions.

Robinson has been charged with 24 passing bad checks charges plus at least four DUIs, three probation violations, multiple disorderly conduct citations and numerous drug violations.

Conway said it simply didn't appear Robinson was stepping away from his criminal past.

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