Pair choose self representation on violations

Truth file photo

GOSHEN — Two people facing alleged violations of their sentencing placement chose to represent themselves in court Thursday.

Joshua Rodriquez, 32, was in court on an alleged violation of the terms of his placement in Elkhart County Community Corrections. He had received a two-year term after admitting to a June 2017 charge of being a habitual traffic violator, a Level 6 felony.

The allegations included threatening an officer who informed him of a major discipline violation and being disruptive by kicking and banging his head on his cell wall, Circuit Judge Michael Christofeno told him.

"You made other statements to him that I'm not gonna repeat in court," Christofeno said. "They weren't very flattering."

There was also a list of smaller violations including unaccounted time, failure to pass a drug screen and failure to keep his quarters clean. As a result of it all, ECCC requested that Rodriquez serve the rest of his time in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility or the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Rodriquez said he was angry because he was accused of writing "white power" on the shower wall. He said he tried explaining that his last name was "Rodriquez" and that he has a mixed-race son.

He was also said to be affiliated with the Dirty White Boys prison gang when he was sentenced in October 2011 for injuring a man while robbing him. He was sentenced to seven years in prison followed by six years on probation after he pleaded guilty to that Class B felony.

He said he was found innocent of the "white power" graffiti the next day, but admitted he lost his head when he was accused of it as well as being accused of testing positive for opiates, which he said was a false positive caused by his medication. He admitted that he tried to walk away from the officer and later tensed up when the officer pulled a stun gun out, but indicated that he didn't hit him.

"I was totally upset. I lost my head," Rodriquez said. "But I'm not stupid. I'm not going to hit an officer when I have only six months left."

Christofeno told Rodriquez he would take his explanation as mitigating circumstances, but did find him guilty of violating the terms of his community corrections placement. He ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence in the county jail.

Brandi Green

Also Thursday, a Chicago woman who was convicted of dealing cocaine nine years ago learned she could be returned to prison for an alleged probation violation in 2015.

Brandi Green, 38, was sentenced to 12 years in prison, with four suspended, after pleading guilty to three counts of dealing cocaine as a Class B felony in February 2010. She was in court Thursday hoping to quickly deal with the allegation from 2015, for which she was arrested just this month.

The allegations include testing positive for marijuana use and missing several appointments with her probation officer in Illinois. 

Speaking on her own behalf, after turning down the appointment of a public defender, she told the judge the former was done in a moment of weakness. She said the latter was because she was told, after the drug test, that her probation would be unsatisfactorily terminated.

Christofeno and Deputy Prosecutor Don Pitzer both said they would like more information on Green's current status before considering what to do. Though it meant a two-week delay, Christofeno told her it could only be to her benefit, since she faces being returned to prison for four years unless it turns out that she's eligible for an alternative placement.

Green was disappointed with the delay, and was visibly distraught as she said she hoped to get it over with that day so things don't have to remain uncertain over her job and her home. 

Christofeno told her to weigh the time spent in jail awaiting her next hearing against the time she could potentially spend in prison, and remarked that she knows what would happen to her job and home if she was returned to the department of corrections.

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