Drug defendant has relapse before sentencing hearing

Cary Ashby • Feb 24, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Defendant Dustin A. Hanson requested assistance with addressing his substance abuse issue.

The man said he had a relapse recently because of the stress of Wednesday's sentencing hearing. He blamed the drug community in Willard, which he said "sucked me back in" so he moved in with his girlfriend in Shelby.

"My main concern is I need a probation officer behind me," Hanson said in court Wednesday.

The defendant's criminal record includes charges of domestic violence and criminal trespassing as a juvenile. He has various convictions as an adult, including drug offenses, which includes a prison sentence.

"You didn't do particularly well in prison," Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said.

Normally, the judge said when defendants have an extensive record like that, he would sentence them to prison, but Conway instead decided to place Hanson on three years of intensive probation because the defendant has been truthful with the court, it didn't appear he was involved regularly with selling drugs and had gotten a job. Starting Jan. 7, Hanson worked for a Mansfield-based demolition company for about three weeks, but the business laid him off after finishing a job in Marion due to travel restrictions.

"He did good work for them," said Huron County Public Defender David Longo, who added that although Hanson has struggled with drug addiction for years, it didn't affect his job performance.

"He wants to get this monkey off his back once and for all," Longo said.

In early December, Hanson, 30, pleaded guilty to possession of heroin. The Willard Police Department initiated the June 25 traffic stop when the defendant was driving with a suspended license.

"It's a residue case," said Longo, who believes Hanson will be cooperative under community control sanctions.

As part of his probation, he will be spending four to six months in a community-based corrections facility. A CBCF is a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education. Hanson also must pay a $250 fine and reimburse Willard police $40 to cover the cost of drug testing.

"I'm going to warn you ahead; you're going to be on a fairly short leash," Conway told Hanson.

If he violates his probation, he faces one year in prison.

The judge gave Hanson a 4 p.m. Tuesday deadline to report to the Huron County Jail so he could handle a few personal issues. From the jail, he will be transferred to a CBCF.

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