Clarett sentenced to 4 years on drug charges

Staff report


Michael Clarett, brother of former Ohio State football standout Maurice Clarett, will spend the next four years in prison.

Michael Clarett, 30, appeared Thursday before Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for sentencing on multiple drug charges. Clarett, in a plea agreement with prosecutors, previously pleaded guilty to four counts of trafficking in heroin. One count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity was dropped.

Martin Desmond, an assistant county prosecutor, and Atty. J. Gerald Ingram, representing Clarett, reached an agreed-upon sentence of four years in prison. Clarett also agreed to forfeit a 2006 Lincoln car and more than $10,000.

Clarett was set to be sentenced on the charges earlier this week, but Ingram informed the court that he gave Clarett the wrong time for his appearance — making him several hours late for court. A bench warrant was issued for Clarett’s arrest, and he was taken into custody on that warrant when he arrived at the courthouse.

Judge Krichbaum mentioned the clerical error before handing down his sentence but said the matter would not at all reflect in Clarett’s sentencing.

“I allow 15 minutes for you to appear. If you do not appear, I issue a bench warrant. ... The court was informed this was not your fault,” said Krichbaum. “The court will honor the recommended sentence.”

Before sentencing, Ingram told the court his client does have a considerable criminal history but was last convicted of any crime in 2003. He said Clarett remained free of legal trouble since getting out of jail in 2006 on that conviction and wants the opportunity to do right for his two children.

Ingram also noted that Clarett managed to obtain his G.E.D. after dropping out of school and has battled substance abuse.

Clarett, before sentencing, apologized to the court and his family.

“I just want to apologize for coming before the court with this matter. I want to apologize to my family for embarrassing them, and I take full responsibility for my actions in this matter,” he said. “I will accept any punishment you give me.”

Krichbaum handed down the recommended four-year sentence and allowed credit for the six days Clarett spent in jail on the charges.

Clarett also is on probation for a drug arrest earlier this year in Alliance.

A check of the Mahoning County courts shows Clarett has faced charges in the past such as felonious assault and illegal possession of a weapon dating back to as early as 2001.

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