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COURT Judge sentences man to 3 years in prison for cocaine trafficking



Published: Thu, June 9, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



YOUNGSTOWN -- Melvin Johnson Sr.'s prolonged drug addiction has caused him to return to prison.

Johnson, 42, of Cassius Avenue, who spent time in prison in the 1990s, will do another three-year stretch for trafficking in cocaine.

Judge Maureen A. Cronin sentenced him Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. He had pleaded guilty to two counts of drug trafficking in April.

Johnson also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of attempted illegal use of food stamps. The judge suspended the six-month sentence on that charge.

Johnson's lawyer, James E. Lanzo, asked the judge for minimum sentencing, saying his client has had periods of sobriety over the years. He acknowledged, however, that Johnson is addicted to drugs.

The drug counts are fourth-degree felonies, which carry a minimum sentence of six months in prison.

He also asked Judge Cronin to have Johnson put in a drug rehabilitation program when released from prison.

Johnson said he accepted responsibility for his actions, which he said have "hurt my family."

The judge said Johnson's extensive criminal record shows that he has failed to respond favorably to halfway houses and past prison and jail terms. He also failed to complete some drug rehab programs. Therefore, she could not give him the minimum sentence.

In addition to the jail time, the judge ordered Johnson to pay $400 in court costs. She also suspended his driver's license for two years.




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