Judge gives ‘least guilty criminal’ a break on sentence
BY JAMES D. WOLF JR. Post-Tribune correspondent November 5, 2013 1:24PM
Updated: November 11, 2013 11:30PM
A Hebron man expecting to be sentenced to a felony for his plea to selling Vicodin to a co-worker instead found himself sentenced to a Class A misdemeanor.
“You’re the least guilty criminal defendant I’ve seen,” Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford, said to Michael A. Wheeler, 50, at Monday’s sentencing.
Wheeler was originally charged with Class B felony dealing before pleading to Class D felony possession for the August 2012 sale of 10 pills for $20, which the co-worker and Porter County Drug Task Force informant said was for gas for driving to the Valparaiso Wal-Mart.
People charged with drug-related offenses often turn informant for special consideration, and the co-worker allegedly asked for some help with a health issue.
Wheeler said to the court, “I thought I was helping someone out, not hurting.”
Bradford noted that if Wheeler had gone into the Drug Court therapeutic program, the charges would be dropped on completion.
However, “you’re not bad enough to get into Drug Court, which I find strange, to say the least,” Bradford said.
Even giving the co-worker drugs is illegal and called delivery, but Bradford sentenced Wheeler to a year of unsupervised probation.