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Prosecutor: "Addicts will Flock Here" for Methadone Clinic

Each week The River City News talks with Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders about his weekly e-newsletter that highlights who was sent to prison or got probation in the previous week. At the bottom of this post you can find a link to that newsletter. Here are this week's questions and answers:

RCN: Looks like a few more heroin and methadone-related convictions last week. We also learned last week that the proposed methadone clinic in Covington is proceeding with just one owner and without the doctor whose Florence office was raided by federal authorities. Do you envision this methadone clinic being helpful to the problem Covington currently has with the drug?

SANDERS: No, I think methadone clinics contribute to a community's drug problem, not reduce it.  I base my opinion in large part on repeatedly dealing with defendants who were obtaining methadone from a clinic in Lawrenceburg, IN.  Heroin addicts from all over the tri-state flock to that clinic then return to their neighborhoods just to commit any number of crimes from trafficking the methadone they were supposed to have taken, to using heroin on top of their methadone, to wrecking cars they were driving while high on the drugs.  Once the clinic opens in Covington, all those addicts are going to flock here because Covington is considerably closer.  It looks as though this clinic will open whether we like it or not so I sincerely hope it's run well and helps some people but I'm not very optimistic.

RCN: You have three guys on this week's list that were convicted of burglary in the first, second, and third degrees (Tristan Luke, third degree; Eric Cole, second degree; and Ryan Robinson, first degree). Luke faces a recommended 1 and a half years sentence, Cole got 5 years, and Robinson got ten. What factors make a burglary charge more serious with longer sentences compared to others?

SANDERS: Burglary is entering or remaining unlawfully with the intent to commit a crime.  3rd Degree (1-5 years) is burglarizing any building other than someone's residence (usually a business or vacant building).  2nd Degree (5-10 yrs) is burglarizing someone's home.  1st Degree (10-20 years) is any burglary where the defendant was armed with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument at any time during the offense OR injures someone while committing the burglary.  If someone steals a gun or other weapon during a burglary, it automatically goes to 1st Degree even though they were only armed when they left.  As you can see by the penalty range, breaking into someone's home is treated much more harshly than breaking into a business or other building regardless of the crime committed inside.

Robinson broke into his ex-girlfriend's house while wearing a mask and armed with a knife.  The ex- wasn't home but her 13 year old daughter was so Robinson locked her in a bathroom while he ransacked the house and stole some property.   Obviously this was far more traumatic for the victims than a burglary while no one was home, hence the heftier sentence.

RCN: Daniel Mangulabnan looks awfully happy in his mugshot. He's got a lengthy criminal record that includes public intoxication, contempt of court, and various probation/parole violations and this time faces a year and a half behind bars for fleeing/evading police. Think someone with this track record will ever learn his lesson?

SANDERS: It never ceases to amaze me how many defendants look at a trip to prison like you or I would look at a trip to the dentist.  It's not something to look forward to but it's a fact of life so deal with it and move on.  Most criminals with this care free approach to prison eventually start to wise up and realize life is too short to spend years of it locked up so they quit breaking the law.  Unfortunately, this "criminal menopause" usually doesn't kick in till their 30's or 40's.  Until then, they keep breaking the law, we lock them up, Frankfort lets them out early, and we lock them up again.  Meanwhile there's a long line of crime victims left in their wake stuck with paying for all the damage.  It's one of the most frustrating parts of this job.

See the full list and mugshots of those who were convicted of felonies in Kenton County Circuit Court, including the ones referenced above, at the link: This Week in Kenton Circuit Court

PHOTO: Daniel Mangulabnan/Kenton Co. Jail