Delay in serving time adds six years to term

Judge reinstates sentence after probation is violated

October 05, 2002|By Laurie Willis | Laurie Willis,SUN STAFF

An East Baltimore man was ordered yesterday to serve a seven-year sentence in a case in which Baltimore Circuit Judge John C. Themelis apparently had had enough.

Antoine Pettiford, 31, of the 700 block of N. Lakewood Ave. was sentenced to six years, to be served after a year that he was already serving, said Assistant State's Attorney Jane Schroeder, who prosecuted Pettiford.

It all began on June 12, when Pettiford pleaded guilty before Themelis to two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, Schroeder said. At that time, Themelis sentenced Pettiford to seven years, suspending all but one, and placed him on three years' supervised probation upon his release.

That's when the trouble began.

Because Pettiford said that he had some "family matters" that needed to be cleared up before he began serving his sentence, Themelis agreed to let him remain free until July 17. However, he was supposed to report to the Division of Parole and Probation on June 13 - a day after the sentencing - so that authorities could supervise him until he was incarcerated.

"Mr. Pettiford failed to appear before the Division of Probation and Parole on June 13," Schroeder said. "On June 28, the intake unit opened a file on the case and a warrant charging him with violation of parole was issued on July 3. In addition to everything else, he got arrested on July 5 on charges of attempted first-degree murder and several handgun charges."

When Pettiford appeared before Themelis yesterday, the judge gave him the full seven-year sentence.

"I allowed him, at his request, the time to spend on some family problems," Themelis said in an interview. "The only way I know that I can control defendants is to either put them on a probation that requires them to be supervised until they report, or have them sign an agreement that if they violate the law pending their surrender date, that I can go outside the [plea] agreement. Usually I don't have any problems, ... but every once in a while, an individual will betray that trust and do something they shouldn't have, pending sentencing."

Pettiford faces trial in January on the attempted first-degree murder charge and several handgun charges, Schroeder said.

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