Heroin defendant is arraigned, sentenced in same day

Judge sentences man to six months in prison.
Cary Ashby
Apr 16, 2013

An arraignment, guilty plea and sentence.

It all happened within a matter of hours for former Norwalk defendant Justin A. Willard, 27.

On Monday morning, Willard, of Reynoldsburg, was in Huron County Common Pleas Court for his arraignment, where he entered a "not guilty" plea. By that afternoon, he was back in the courthouse to plead guilty to possession of heroin.

Grand jurors met Friday, but the Huron County Clerk of Courts office didn't release the indictments until Monday -- the same day Willard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said he had talked to Willard, who indicated Monday morning he wanted to plead guilty. After reviewing the case, Longo said he didn't see any defense for his client's case.

"We did his arraignment this morning ... He is still intent on pleading," Longo told Judge Jim Conway.

Willard was sentenced to six months in prison, a joint recommendation between Longo and Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff. The court ordered the defendant to pay $40 in restitution to the Norwalk Police Department to cover the cost of drug testing. While Conway imposed a six-month suspension of his driver's license, the judge said he wouldn't fine Willard because of his inability to pay.

The conviction is for a Dec. 23 incident when officers found marijuana on Willard during his arrest on an unspecified matter.

Willard, who declined to speak on his own behalf, faces a pending probation violation through Morrow County. Longo said the defendant also has a pending felony in Erie County, which "arose from a bar fight."

Investigator Bob McDowell was asked how long it's been since he's seen an arraignment, guilty plea and sentence happen in the same day.

"It's been a while," he said. "It happens, but not very often."

Comments

TuffNutts2011

No fine cause his inability to pay?? He bought heroin. Found money for that. I bet he finds money to buy heroin while in prison.

CorrectUrFacts

^ I was thinkin the same thing. 16yr old kids get fines for court cost for simple traffic stops such as speeding but a grown man/ known druggy gets nothing because he cant pay? Here's an ideal:: Have him get off drugs so he can get a job and actually pay for stuff on his own! Bet anything he's a welfare case! Not saying there is anything wrong with needing the extra assistance sometimes but THIS is prime example of why they should have ever adult in the home who collects assistance drug tested and a limit on how long a person can get government help. Welfare is not a career its system set up to help a family (or a person) for a short time until they get back on their feet. At any rate tho.. Maybe if norwalk gave the kids something to do here they would find more things to do besides get into drugs. "Norwalk, A kid's place" -JOKE!! However getting back on point.. What point are they proving by giving him no court cost? & What is 6months in prison gonna do? He sat longer than that in county. If Im not mistaken he JUST got out not to long ago! SMH!! WTHeck is this town coming to anymore! It used to be a nice place to live!