Drug defendant asks judge for 'shot' at out-patient treatment

Cary Ashby • Aug 31, 2013 at 6:07 AM

Greenwich resident Dustin S. Howell asked the judge for a "chance" and a "shot" at out-patient substance abuse treatment.

"I know I don't deserve it," the 27-year-old defendant said Wednesday.

Instead of out-patient treatment, Howell was ordered to spend four to six months in a community-based corrections facility (CBCF).

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told the defendant he sounds like he's interested in turning his life around so he could benefit from time in a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education. The judge also said Howell could learn some life skills, including anger management, at the locked-down facility.

As part of his three years of intense probation, Howell was fined $500 and must reimburse the Huron County Sheriff's Office $80 to cover the cost of drug testing.

The defendant, whose driver's license was suspended for six months, also must work toward completing his GED. Howell said he has to retake the math portion of the test.

Earlier in Wednesday's sentencing hearing, Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Dina Shenker said Howell is willing to seek treatment for a "significant drug problem," which dates back to when he was a juvenile. She said the state couldn't recommend out-patient treatment because it's likely Howell would return to the same lifestyle that led to a "fairly lengthy" juvenile and misdemeanor record, which includes numerous probation violations.

Howell is serving a 180-day sentence for a domestic violence conviction through Norwalk Municipal Court, according to jail records. In early March, he pleaded no contest to the Feb. 18 incident and was fined $200.

"He's missed the birth of his child. He's never met his child. This is a huge wake-up call for him," Huron County Public Defender David Longo said.

On July 2, Howell pleaded guilty in common pleas court to attempted illegal conveyance of contraband into a detention facility and a separate charge of possession of oxycodone.

He turned himself into the Huron County Jail on several warrants Feb. 11. Shenker had said the defendant smuggled several pills into the facility by placing them in his body and then hid the drugs under the bed in his cell. A corrections officer seized the pills as evidence.

The oxycodone conviction is for a Feb. 18 incident when police responded to a domestic disturbance at Howell's residence. Shenker had said there was an argument with his wife over Howell's drug use.

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