A judge gave a former New London man who unknowingly dated a felon for about a year "a last-chance opportunity."
Tiffin resident James M. Baker, 32, was in Huron County Common Pleas Court for a probation violation hearing Monday. Last week in court, he admitted he didn't know his ex-girlfriend had a felony conviction until his friends informed him. State law prohibits felons from associating with other felons.
Baker tested positive for marijuana during a Jan. 7 drug screen. He said he smoked one joint on New Year's Eve "just as the ball dropped."
"It was the first time I failed a drug test in 14 months," Baker told Judge Jim Conway last week. "I'm done with drugs."
Hearing that Baker has a job lined up, Conway ruled the defendant would finish a 90-day sentence at the Seneca County Jail. After that, Baker will remain in the Huron County Jail until 9 a.m. May 1.
"It's a last chance opportunity," the judge told Baker. "I expect you to do nothing more than work and behave yourself."
Baker violated his probation due to a Jan. 30 conviction through Tiffin Municipal Court. He violated a civil protection order when he was at a woman's residence.
"Nobody got hurt," Huron County Public Defender David Longo said last week. "There's no allegation he laid a finger on her in anger."
Baker "fell for" the woman telling him she dropped the order, he said.
Baker earlier said he has a laborer job waiting for him -- something that would keep him from being in court again.
In late February 2011, Baker was sentenced to 90 days in jail on the work release program for trafficking in heroin.
As part of his three years of intense probation, he was fined $500 and ordered to pay $40 in restitution to the Huron County Sheriff's Office to cover the cost of drug testing.
In June 2011, Baker pleaded guilty to three counts of trafficking in cocaine. He later was fined $250 and ordered to spend four to six months in a community-based corrections facility (CBCF), a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education. Baker successfully completed the CBCF program.