By Ed Runyan
Anthony L. Hall, 42, of Ferndale Avenue Southwest was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday — his 10th trip there — for using someone else’s debit card and charging $400 worth of merchandise 18 months ago.
His crimes were low-level felonies, the kind that usually result in probation.
But Hall’s lengthy criminal record in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan and his failure to appear for sentencing on the charges last November, didn’t sit well with Gabe Wildman, assistant Trumbull County prosecutor.
Wildman asked Judge Andrew Logan of common pleas court to give Hall consecutive sentences — meaning separate prison time for two or more crimes rather than the norm of one sentence for several crimes.
Hall was in court Tuesday only because he committed another set of crimes in Allegheny County last December and that resulted in him being brought back to Ohio because of an arrest warrant, Wildman said.
“He can’t go 30 seconds without committing a crime,” Wildman told Judge Logan.
Judge Logan agreed, sentencing Hall to separate one-year prison terms for receiving stolen property (the debit card) and forgery for signing the victim’s name to use the card.
Judge Logan said the reason for the two sentences was to protect the community.
When Judge Logan was done with Hall, he turned to Hall’s mother, Atty. Dorothea S. Hall of Pittsburgh.
She filed a motion and another pleading in her son’s case asking Judge Logan to give her son probation even though she’s not licensed to practice law in Ohio, didn’t ask the Ohio Supreme Court for permission to do so, and her son had another attorney appointed to his case.
That didn’t sit well with Judge Logan, who called her to the bench after her son’s sentencing.
Judge Logan told her that filing the two documents could be construed as practicing law in Ohio without a license.
He’s referring the matter to the Trumbull County Bar Association to determine whether she should be sanctioned.
After the hearing, Hall said she felt compelled to file the documents to let Judge Logan know her son suffers from an anxiety disorder, depression and drug abuse and “struggles with unresolved childhood issues of rejection, neglect and abandonment.”
“He has served eight months in the Allegheny County jail since his arrest and is motivated to change. He is the father of five children,” she wrote.
His own father started visiting him in jail and they have reconnected “despite 20 years of separation,” she added.
Her request was to have her son given probation and returned to Allegheny County to participate in a faith-based program called House of Crossroads, which “offers everything Anthony needs to help him become a productive member of society,” she wrote.
Wildman asked Judge Logan during the hearing to refuse the treatment program, saying it would be foolish to think Hall was going to make a dramatic recovery after the number of times he’s broken the law.
Trumbull County jail records show he’s been charged with nearly 50 offenses since 1996.
Allegheny County records show about 30 criminal charges filed against him dating back to 1992, including nine counts of burglary.
Hall said her son grew up in Pittsburgh but moved to Ohio after marrying a Warren-area woman.