Cocaine defendant sent to prison

Cary Ashby • May 9, 2014 at 9:07 PM

A Norwalk man who went to prison for a robbery almost 20 years ago was sent back to the slammer for a drug offense Wednesday.

In early March, Adewale A. Olaniyan, 37, of Norwalk, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine during a May 26 incident. Defense attorney Tom Nicholson said the situation started when his client asked for a bar owner's female relative and a fight ensued, most likely due to racial issues. Olaniyan is black.

For the last 15 years, Olaniyan has been in an ongoing pattern of going to a bar, getting drunk and then getting in some sort of fight, Nicholson said.

"It's a sad litany," he added.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told Olaniyan there's a simple way to stop that pattern.

"It's not an unbreakable pattern -- don't go out to bars," the judge said.

Huron County Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said the state was prepared not to oppose Olaniyan being placed on probation and recommend a term in a community-based correctional facility, but he ended up testing at a moderate risk to re-offend. According to a recent change in state law, that means Olaniyan isn't eligible for acceptance into a CBCF, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

As a result, Woodruff said the state had no choice but to recommend a prison sentence and have Olaniyan possibly released early into a CBCF. Olaniyan's attorney agreed, saying he hoped his client could go to a halfway house and get the life skills he needs.

"He has a plethora of misdemeanor charges. They all seem to be substance abuse-related," Woodruff said about Olaniyan's criminal record.

The defendant spent three years in prison for a 1995 robbery conviction.

At Wednesday's hearing, Olaniyan was sentenced to 11 months in prison. He also must reimburse the Norwalk Police Department $40 for lab testing and had his driver's license for six months.

Conway told the defendant he's likely to consider releasing him early from prison into a CBCF. Olaniyan can apply for judicial release 30 days after his arrival.

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