Tim Allen receives unusual sentence
A Brookville man received an unusual sentence for his guilty plea to Conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, as a class B felony.
Franklin Circuit Court Judge J. Steven Cox sentenced Tim Allen to 20 years in prison with the entire sentence suspended to probation. Class B felonies carry a sentencing range from six to 20 years in prison.
A plea agreement was in place between Allen, who had a public defender, Jeffrey Sharp, and Franklin County Prosecutor Mel Wilhelm. However, Allen withdrew his guilty plea and instead gave a guilty plea to the court, Cox said.
Allen has an extensive criminal history including drug convictions and a conviction for stabbing another individual. Cox said his sentencing occurred because Allen asked for help.
“At the plea hearing, Tim Allen requested treatment,” Cox said. “He said he had lived this way forever. He was on total disability and said he couldn’t continue to live this way. He said he needed help. He had never asked for help before. I took the plea, and told his attorney to research sentencing options for the court. I wanted inpatient residential treatment.”
According to Cox, he told Sharp Allen had to go straight from court to rehabilitation. Sharp was able to get Allen a bed at Salvation Army Harbor Light in Indianapolis.
According to its website, Harbor Light has a two-week inpatient treatment program followed by outpatient therapy for 10 to 15 weeks and aftercare for 20 weeks. It also offers educational programs, occupational training programs and transitional housing.
It is all being paid for by Allen.
“There is no way I would entertain to have the county pay for it,” Cox said.
According to Cox, it is one of the strictest probation orders in his 18-year history of being a judge. If at any time in the next 20 years Allen fails at any part of his probation, he must serve the entire sentence. An example is if he fails after 15 years on probation, he must serve the 20-year sentence, Cox said.
“He is on the tightest probation order I have written in many years,” Cox said. “I don’t know the likelihood of his succeeding. But if he succeeds, we all succeed. If he doesn’t, prison will always be there waiting for him.”
Probation officers are in contact with Harbor Lights officials checking on Allen’s conduct while a patient at the facility. If at any time during his treatment he acts out against the staff, it is a violation of his probation, and Allen will go to prison, Cox said.
His Democrat opponent for the circuit court judge position Cox now holds, Tammy Davis, has publicly challenged Cox’s releasing of convicted murderer David Ison more than one year prior to his killing of five people on Stipps Hill Road in Sept. 2011. Cox said the Allen sentencing may also be used against him in the November election.
“If members of the community or my opponent are upset and claim I am lenient with meth people, I have case after case defending my record on meth,” Cox said.
According to Cox, Davis and some of the people who support her have claimed their support for a Drug Court.
“They seem to talk both sides,” Cox said. “I have done inventive and extraordinary things for people who have asked for the help. This is his request and his time. All the work is on Tim Allen. If he fails at any time, he opens himself up to 20-year sentence.”
According to Cox, this is not his answer to a Drug Court. He and fellow judge, Clay Kellerman, attempt to use innovative sentencings when they are called for in an attempt to help those who want to help themselves.
As all American communities in the 21st Century, Franklin County has a drug problem, Cox said. However, the community must have accurate information before it begins talks on such possible solutions like a Drug Court.
“I don’t underestimate what they want to do, but what I do is caution them to use accurate information,” Cox said. The information that was disseminated in the (Drug Court) meeting (Cox attended) was inaccurate. People were talking a horrendous recidivism rate. When I asked them what the recidivism rate was, you could have heard crickets. No one in the room could tell the recidivism rate. Again, the conversation about a drug problem needs to be held in every community. There needs to be an identification of the problem and resources assessed on what we have to combat this and gaps we have so we can seek other resources to fill in the gaps. But to get together and have meetings ran based upon a horror story is not productive. It’s not based upon statistical data. We need to get at the truth, but we cannot do that if we do not have good information.”
According to Cox, this was the time to do something. In prior times before the court, Allen did not ask for help. Cox said he sensed a true change on Allen’s part. People cannot be helped if they do not ask for the help first.
“If we don’t try something as court, we will always be dealing with him,” Cox said. “If you don’t try, there’s going to be another offense.”
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