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Man gets prison time for sixth DUI



Published: Wed, July 13, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Haskins had five prior DUI offenses.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Leon C. Haskins is the second Mahoning County resident to be sentenced to prison time in the last four days for driving a vehicle while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.

Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Haskins, 29, of West Chalmers Avenue, to 30 months in prison at a hearing Tuesday, but he suspended 28 months of that time and ordered Haskins to serve 60 days at North Coast Correctional Facility in Grafton, an institution geared toward rehabilitation treatment for convicted DUI offenders.

This was Haskins' sixth DUI conviction as an adult, and he also has a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon, the judge said.

Michael Villani, an assistant county prosecutor, said Haskins entered a guilty plea to the charge May 11. He and Atty. Anthony P. Meranto, Haskins' lawyer, recommended to the judge 60 days mandatory incarceration and payment of fines.

Meranto said his client realizes "there is a price that must be paid for driving under the influence."

A plea agreement

Haskins, who recently became a father, said he was sorry and that he accepted full responsibility for his actions, but he asked the court, fighting back tears, to consider that he was the sole support for his family and that he wanted to be near them.

Judge Evans said each of Haskins' previous DUI offenses carried either claims of drug abuse or driving under suspension.

"That is not health for society," Judge Evan said, adding that Haskins posed a greater chance of being a repeat offender.

The judge said he would put Haskins on a five years' probation after he finishes his 60 days at Grafton. He also said he must pay an $800 fine and court costs six months after his release.

He added that he would consider granting Haskins limited driving privileges after his release. Until then, however, the judge suspended his driver's license for five years.

"If you get behind the wheel [after your release], and it's proven you are driving under the influence or under suspension, you will have violated the terms of your probation, and I will send you back to prison for 28 months," Judge Evans told Haskins.

On Friday, Judge Maureen A. Cronin of common pleas court sentenced Thomas Yozwiak, 45, of Canfield to prison for six years on three DUI charges.




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