No jail time for drunk drivers

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Some drunk driving defendants received sentences and a littleadvice from Judge Mike Smith Thursday as court officials acceptedguilty pleas and handled other court matters.

Five defendants pleaded guilty to DUI charges during a busymorning court term. The five were sentenced, but one had hissentence rescinded after court officials learned he had anotheroutstanding DUI charge.

Those pleading guilty included:

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* Larry L. Rials, 45, of 2418 Highway 583 – DUI fourthoffense.

* Harry E. Bates, 43, of Bogue Chitto – DUI fourth offense.

* Dempsey Eugene Clark, 30, of 925 Williams St. – DUI thirdoffense.

* Steven R. Wages, 44, of 1021 Fifth St., Wesson – DUI thirdoffense.

* Michael W. Mitchell, 33, of 474 West Lincoln Dr. – DUI thirdoffense.

Rials, Bates, Clark and Wages were sentenced to three years and,after evaluation, ordered to serve the first year in the IntensiveSupervision Program (ISP), or house arrest. The remaining two yearswere suspended for five years probation.

They were also ordered to pay $4,000 fines, $500 to the CrimeVictims Compensation Fund and to attend Alcoholics Anonymousmeetings once a week for a year. Wages was also to complete acurrent psychiatric counseling program, and Clark was to obtain inGED.

Mitchell’s sentencing was deferred.

While also ordering evaluations for outpatient alcohol and drugtreatment program eligibility, Smith told the defendants thatprogram would help, but so would asking for a little help fromabove.

“The best way to get help is ask the man upstairs to help you,and He will,” the judge said.

In other court activity, Brandy Harris, 19, of 537 St. CharlesPlace, was sentenced after pleading guilty to unlawful possessionof cocaine.

He was sentenced to four years, suspended for five yearsprobation, and ordered placed under ISP for six months. He was alsoto pay a $3,000 fine, obtain his GED and attend Narcotics Anonymousmeetings once a week for a year.

After accepting their guilty pleas, Smith deferred sentencing onseveral defendants in order for pre-sentencing investigation (PSI)reports to be done. PSI reports show past criminal history andother information about defendants.

Those awaiting sentencing on Aug. 9 and their chargesinclude:

* Patrick Milton Payton, 41, of 517 Turner St., – two counts ofuttering forgery.

* Michael R. Newell, 45, of 1013 Enterprise Road, Bogue Chitto -unlawful possession of oxycodone.

* Mark Thomas, 33, of 344 Catalpa Lane, Bogue Chitto – thirddegree arson.

Several defendants showed up for arraignment, but did not haveattorneys. The public defender’s office was appointed to representsome of them, but Smith made it clear the defendants would bepaying for the services if convicted.

“It’s not going to be a free ride,” he said. “If you’re bigenough to commit a crime, you’re big enough to pay the county foran attorney.”

Paying court costs and attorney fees, which total around $750,are standard parts of sentencing.

Defendants appearing before the judge Thursday included:

* Gregory Webster, 40, of Woodville – DUI third offense.

* C.L. Sanders Jr., 31, of 112 Amite Road – DUI thirdoffense.

* Joe Mobley, 19, of 816 Toy Dr. – two counts of credit cardfraud and conspiracy.

* Glen E. Smith, 43, of 352 East Cherokee St. – conspiracy tocommit first degree arson.

* James M. Smith, 40, of Vidalia, La. – possession of stolenproperty.

In an unusual move, Dwane Evans, also known as Fred Evans, hadhis attempted escape indictment dismissed on a motion from thepublic defender’s office.

Court officials said the indictment failed to list a specificovert act allegedly committed by Evans, 40, of 310 Canal St., NewOrleans, during his attempted escape from the Lincoln County Jail.He remained in jail on charges from Lawrence County.