Man put on intense probation for having heroin in dresser

Defendant promises judge "this will never happen again" and gets no jail time.
Cary Ashby
Mar 8, 2013


A man convicted of having more than 2 grams of heroin in his dresser promised the judge "this will never happen again."

David A. Dalton's brief statement and apology were exactly what his defense attorney, Tom Nicholson, encouraged him to say moments before Thursday's sentencing hearing. Nicholson was overheard telling his client to "say exactly that," but nothing else.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway didn't impose any jail time for Dalton, but ruled he would face 18 months in prison if he violates the terms of his three years of intense probation. Dalton, who was fined $250, must undergo random drug screens as well as substance abuse counseling and treatment.

"It was a hung jury. I'm giving you a chance to hang yourself," Conway told the 43-year-old defendant.

"The jury was inconclusive about your guilt. ... You had several people come in and testify you'd stopped using (drugs)," the judge said.

After a two-day trial in mid-January, a jury couldn't reach a verdict about Dalton being charged with possession of heroin and possession of criminal tools. Jurors deliberated for about 4 1/2 hours.

But four days later, Dalton entered a "no contest" plea to possession of heroin and was found guilty of the fourth-degree felony.

Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Daivia Kasper, who represented the state in Dalton's trial, was asked Thursday why the defendant pleaded "no contest" after there was a hung jury.

"There was no prejudice to the state when the jury was hung," Kasper said, meaning Dalton could have been retried on the charges.

Prosecutors didn't request DNA analysis on the evidence; that's typically used for burglaries, violent crimes and sex offenses. Kasper said she believed the state's case was strong enough without it.

"We thought there was sufficient evidence without further extensive and intensive analysis," she said.

On July 23, the Willard Police Department used a "knock and announce" search warrant at Dalton's apartment at 313A Woodland Ave. in the city. Police found 37 bindles of heroin in the man's dresser -- a piece of furniture Dalton's wife had testified she never bothered and was only used by her husband.

Detective Jeremy Draper earlier received a tip about suspected drug activity at Dalton's apartment. The detective conducted surveillance, found drug paraphernalia when he searched through two trash bags in a Dumpster he determined serviced Dalton's residence and obtained the warrant.

About the trash Draper found in the Dumpster, the detective testified he found some used cotton -- which later field-tested positive for heroin -- and a piece of tin foil, which was burned on one side and had suspected heroin-related "head lines" on the other.

Draper, who searched Dalton's bedroom July 23, testified he found a capped syringe, spoon, a cotton swab, an open knife and some "bloody tissues" on top of the defendant's dresser. He said the top drawer held men's clothes, a bag of heroin spindles in a bag and a dinner plate with "powdered residue." Draper identified the items using photos that were displayed to jurors on a projection screen.

In a plea deal reached Jan. 22, the state agreed not to oppose Dalton being sentenced to community control sanctions, which could have included six to 18 months of local jail time. Prosecutors also dismissed the possession of criminal tools charge.

Although Dalton has a lengthy criminal record -- which includes prior felonies and prison terms, Conway said "justice will be served" with the "compromise."

However, the judge warned Dalton that probation officers will be keeping a close eye on him.



THank you for pointing out he is a veteran. I have NEVER seen the careers of all the other heroin users. Great way to sensationalize the story.

Cary Ashby

See my comment below about the veteran issue.

Sitting In The ...

Lady Dye you're so focused on the word "veteran" it has blinded you to the fact that in 99.9% of the cases the person is also accused of theft. I would imagine that they steal because they have no other source of income IE WORK,JOB,CAREER ETC.


What a big joke! Willard police department trying clean up this city and all these losers get off with nothing!!


Yeah, I will give Draper his props on this. He is doing his job, you can blame Conway for dropping the ball on this one.

Cary Ashby

FYI/CLARIFICATION: At the request of Mr. Dalton's father, I called him today about his son's supposed military service. His father said his son has never been in the military, but had wanted to be a helicopter pilot at one point.

Also, Dalton's defense attorney brought up early in the hearing his client didn't mention his military service to probation officers when interviewed for his presentence report for an unknown reason. (I heard the two have the same conversation before the hearing started.) Nicholson told me after the hearing Dalton was in the Army as a helicopter mechanic.

swiss family

heroin........... "intense" probation...??? he must have blown "probation" to have heroin and be let off...??????


This man is a repeat offender are you kidding me! He says "it will never happen again " ok and what about the last 30 times!!! He selling heroin to our children heck even his own son is addicted to herion but I bet he will change this time because he promised!!!


"I will never do it again", LOL. Wow, what can I say? This guy has been servicing Willard for the past 15 years with heroin, and the guy says he won't do it again? The only break the town had from him was when he was in prison last time for the very same thing. If it was anyone one else they would have been sent straight to LCI, but no he gets probation!!!! Shame on you Judge Conway!!!! As for you Ashby, just wondered, you like to bring up past, and even sometimes unrelated cases against people in your articles, but I couldn't find one time where you did in this case. Are you on the courts payroll too, and you and Mr. Conway have some kind of "secret" arrangement where you refuse to slander this defendant with his past? Your just as sad as what passes for justice in this county. Stick to your comics bra, that's what your good at...

Cary Ashby

If you read the story again, I did bring up Mr. Dalton's criminal history, just not any specifics. (Next to last paragraph.)


"Although Dalton has a lengthy criminal record -- which includes prior felonies and prison terms, Conway said "justice will be served" with the "compromise.""

This must be what your talking about then. No headlines or unrelated cases like you have with the Hall's or the Gravelle's? Your right, I stand corrected, LOL. Such fair and unbiased reporting smh...


No jail time for heroin ???? This is really confusing. I hope thats not what went down here. When do we vote in a new judge.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

His current term expires on December 31, 2018. What do you expect from a Liberal Democratic?

Yall Make Me Sick

The same thing you expect from someone named Swiss cheese cake! Junk!!


Actually I'm a Liberal Democrate, maybe too liberal to even be called a democrat, but yes I am no fan of Judge Conway and how he picks and chooses his sentences. I was no fan of McGimpsey either, but at least he was constant with his sentences. I don't know what kinda "back-door" deals Conway & Leffler have, but he needs voted off the bench as soon as possible.

Lillie Chaos

I can in no way grasp how this man, who has been continually involved in the Willard drug scene, can not be given jail time. Just him being back in Willard since his last release has not only been an embarrassment but a real danger to our community. Willard police are trying to clean up the obvious drug addicts and dangerous elements but the court system is not helping in the least. I feel sorry for the Dalton family...they do not deserve this. No one deserves the constant threat of this man in our community. What have I or anyone in this area done to deserve the abuse this man has inflicted on us? Evidently the court system has no concern for the safety of the community.


I think the Jury is partial to blame for this one too. There must have been a junkie or two on the jury for them not to find him guilty the first time.


Intense probation is just like The Animal House's Double Secrete Probation.....they both mean nothing.