By joe gorman
A man who said he missed his sentencing date because of Hurricane Sandy more than a year ago on an assault charge stemming from a fight at the Canfield Fair was given two years’ probation Tuesday.
Sean Caceres, 36, of Florida, has spent the last 66 days in jail, 33 of them in the Mahoning County jail, after he was arrested in Virginia in October on a warrant because he skipped a sentencing Nov. 1, 2012.
He appeared Tuesday before Judge Maureen Sweeney in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. He previously had pleaded guilty to a charge of assault, a fourth-degree felony. In exchange for his plea, misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and assault were dismissed.
Caceres, who was an amusement worker at the fair, is accused of punching another worker there during the 2012 fair and then having to be restrained by police at the fair’s police building.
His attorney, Rhys Cartwright-Jones, told Judge Sweeney his client has never had a felony before and that he did take the time to notify the court by telegram he would not be able to attend his sentencing last year. Cartrwight-Jones said the 66 days his client has spent in jail have been a wake-up call and adequate punishment for missing his sentencing date.
Caceres said the telegram cost $230 to send, but Judge Sweeney said Caceres had plenty of time to make it back for another sentencing date.
“I think over a year later, the East Coast has recovered from Hurricane Sandy,” Judge Sweeney said.
Caceres apologized for missing his sentencing date. He said he has graduated school to be a surgical technician and also is going to school for paramedic training. Caceres told Judge Sweeney that he is a long-distance truck driver, and he has to keep driving to keep up his tuition payments.
Caceres said when he was arrested on the warrant in Virginia, it was because his truck was 3,000 pounds overweight at a weigh station, and that is when police there learned of his warrant.
“I didn’t want to flee, and I didn’t want this,” Caceres said. “That’s why I spent $230 on that telegram on that day.”
Judge Sweeney told Caceres that he must find a way to keep in touch with his probation officer despite the fact he lives outside Ohio.