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Craft Receives 1-10 Years

By Staff | Sep 10, 2014

Mikeal James Craft

Mikeal Craft, 26, of HC 61 Box 8, Littleton, was sentenced Sept. 5 to one to 10 years in the West Virginia Penitentiary for Men for felony daytime burglary.

When given a chance to speak to the court, Craft noted that he believes he has deserved every day that he has sat in jail. “I want to turn my life around and do right,” he noted. “I think the drug program is a good thing for me. I’d be closely monitored. It’s something for me to do instead of sitting and waiting for parole. I want to be a better part of the community and change my life.” Craft stated he had taken several courses at the prison, including courses on substance abuse, healthy relationships, computer literacy, and a GED refresher . . . “anything I could do up there,” he stated.

“You dropped out of 10th grade . . .” Hummel noted, “How come?”

“No real reason,” Craft stated.

When asked to tell the court about his employment history, Craft stated that he’s had “really good jobs,” but it seemed like he always lost them. “Not because of work ethic,” Craft noted. “With drugs, I started missing work and showing up to work on drugs.” Craft stated he did not do electrician work while on drugs, but he did work as a mechanic while under the influence.

Craft’s attorney, Phillip Bowser, asked that the court consider an alternative sentence for his client. “Since being in the Northern Regional Jail, he’s taken time to enroll in courses. He passed classes and took his GED again and passed at a higher score than when he took it two years ago.” Bowser noted that his client takes jobs at the prison when available, such as laundry jobs. “He’s looking forward to the opportunity to be employed,” Bowser stated. “He’s taken this seriously, and he takes responsibility for his actions. He’d like the opportunity for someone to assist him when he comes out so he remains clean.”

Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Haught noted that the state opposed an alternative sentence or drug court treatment based upon Craft’s criminal history. He stated that Craft has an extensive misdemeanor criminal record which includes “destruction of property, motor vehicle tampering, driving on a suspended/revoked license, petit larceny, battery, a probation violation, worthless checks, and possession of marijuana.”

“He has multiple misdemeanors,” Haught stated. “He was on probation and home confinement and it was revoked. It was a case involving a motor vehicle that was stolen, and I don’t think ever recovered, and he pleaded to joyriding. He violated that. Also, just in reviewing the LS/CMI (Level of Serve/Case Management Inventory) report, the risk assessment that was prepared . . . he scores a high risk at 26, so based upon the threat and our experience with Mr. Craft, the number of contacts that law enforcement has had with him, the nature of this offense . . . he stole from a friend . . . based upon that, we are asking that the court impose a one to 10 year sentence.”

“You know, it’s never too late to change,” Craft noted. “I’d like to change.”

“There are five generally recognized purposes for sentencing,” Hummel noted, adding that the first is “retribution, meaning, society’s punishment for anti-societal acts . . . You broke into a friend’s house with the intent to find controlled substances. When you didn’t find them, you stole rolled quarters and did some property damage on your way in. You violated this person’s home, the sanctity. It was during the daytime.”

“So the element of retribution, that is punishing a person that does something like that-for violating the sanctity of a person’s home, the safety and security and knowing that is their place-and you did that.”

“There are specific deterrents. They are used specifically from doing the same or a similar act in the future. This is your first felony conviction, but you worked your way up to it-a two-page series of misdemeanor after misdemeanor. You were granted the privilege of probation and violated it and had it revoked.” Hummel noted that general deterrents include information of his punishment being spread by word of mouth or written in the newspaper.

Hummel noted that his opinion, as a person is, “You go to my house. You go to prison.”

He stated that the fourth purpose for sentencing is “incapacitation,” or “the taking away of your liberty.” He stated that the fifth is rehabilitation and noted that it sounded like Craft was “working hard” while in prison.

He stated that with incapacitation, Craft’s neighbors “will feel safe.” “They probably are,” he said.

“I have to commend you,” the judge noted. “You look a lot healthier than the last time I saw you. You are cleaner. I can tell from doing six years of drug court. Your complexion is better. You just look healthier, and the physical appearance of healthiness is reflected in your biology and brain that you are healthier in there and thinking clear.”

“I bet if you hadn’t dropped out of school, you wouldn’t be sitting at that table,” Hummel noted, adding that 85 percent or more of the defendants who sit at the table “have completed as much school as you.”

“There’s a correlation between education which creates opportunities and opportunities to get a better lifestyle.”

“According to the LS/CMI, you are 44 percent at risk for committing another crime . . . It’s more likely than not you will be sitting there again. It is a reasonable judgement of this court, based on the act committed, pursuant to the plea agreement, you are paying $500 of restitution . . . you will be sentenced to one to 10 years with credit through today for time served.”

He added, “I hope this is the last time we have to see you here.”

On July 15, Craft pleaded guilty to daytime burglary. At the time of his plea, Craft noted that the victim was a good friend of his at the time. He stated that the victim is a good man and forgives him, but wants him to “get clean.”