Common Pleas court news: Medical issues spare Bucyrus man from prison


By Kathy Laird - Crawford County Now



BUCYRUS — James Caswell, 63, of Bucyrus was in Crawford County Common Pleas Court on Thursday ,scheduled to plead guilty to three felonies. He faced more than five years in prison on charges including assault of a police officer, failure to comply and vandalism.

According to police reports, when police finally arrested Caswell, he was combative and seemed to have had no idea of what he had done or who he was, according to reports of the incident. Paramedics had to administer treatment to Caswell to calm him down.

After reviewing the results of a psychological evaluation, Judge Sean Leuthold agreed to a sentence recommendation of five years on community control and a lifetime suspension of Caswell’s driving privileges.

Leuthold noted the extensive medical conditions Caswell deals with, including heart failure, kidney disease, COPD and dementia.

“The serious medical issues are mitigating factors,” Leuthold said. “It would be completely inappropriate to put this man in prison.”

Noting that Caswell was a Vietnam veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and that he had no prior criminal record, Leuthold said justice would not be served by a prison sentence.

“We need to keep an eye on him for his own safety and the safety of the public,” Leuthold said.

In other court proceedings, Briona Rose, 23, of Bucyrus, will spend eight months in prison after pleading guilty to a theft charge. She admitted stealing $100 from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Rose was prison eligible for the offense following a 2016 drug conviction for drug possession.

After violating her community control in 2016, Rose spent time in prison.

“Look, you’re 23 and heading to prison for a second time,” Leuthold said. “All this is related to drug use. I’m telling you if you keep doing this, I will keep sending you to prison. Get yourself straightened up.”

Also, a Bucyrus man’s drinking problem netted him 24 months in prison. Robert Young, Jr., 49, admitted violating the terms of his community control. In lieu of a plea agreement, Young opted to have his attorney Sebastion Berger argue his sentence before Leuthold.

According to probation officer Dan Wurm, Young violated his probation Jan. 17 when he operated a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Young was involved in four separate accidents on Ohio 100 where he hit a road sign, an electrical pole, a plastic utility marker and a farm truck with a snow plow. A bottle of whiskey was found in the vehicle. Young’s blood alcohol level was .0294.

Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Hoovler argued for the full 24 months in prison based on the underlying felony committed by Young. Young originally was charged with having weapons while under disability, inducing panic and aggravated menacing after he locked himself in a bedroom with weapons while making threats.

Instead of receiving 36 months in prison, the prosecution offered 24 months with the condition that Young completes his community control successfully.

“The court asked him to abide by the rules of community control, basically not to drink and not to pick up another charge, he did just the opposite,” said assistant prosecutor Ryan Hoovler.

“You know Mr. Young,” Leuthold said, “if you want to sit at home by yourself and drink yourself to death then I’m inclined to let you. But when you put innocent people in jeopardy with no regard to the consequences of your behavior, that’s where I step in.”

He sentenced Young to 24-months, but said he would consider a motion to move Young to a community based correctional facility after after he serves at least nine months.

Also, Charlotte Wolfe, 47, of Crestline mwas cut a break when she was sentenced for felony intimidation. She was facing 36 months in prison for intimidating a relative of a victim of case in Crawford County Common Pleas.

“Your behavior is ridiculous and unacceptable,” Leuthold said. “We do not allow alleged victims to be harassed or intimidated or treated badly by anyone. You damn near got yourself sent to prison.”

Leuthold went on to tell Wolfe that the handling of criminal cases is not her job but the job of the courts.

“I am here to make sure everything is done correctly and fairly for all parties involved,” Leuthold said. “You don’t need to stick your two cents in; especially in cases of alleged sexual abuse.”

Leuthold sentenced Wolfe to 180 days in jail with 111 suspended. He also ordered two years of probation.

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By Kathy Laird

Crawford County Now