Ridgeway man, 62, gets request for prison sentence instead of probation

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 July 2017 at 8:01 am

Richard Turrell wants to tackle drug addiction at prison program

Richard Turrell

ALBION – An Orleans County Court judge was prepared to include probation as part of the sentence for a Ridgeway man facing a drug charge.

But Richard C. Turrell told the judge he preferred prison and its drug treatment program. Turrell wants to go to Willard drug treatment campus run by the state prison system.

Judge James Punch said he can’t require the State Department of Corrections to accept Turrell into Willard, but the judge would make the recommendation.

Turrell, 62, is the owner of the Rick & Ron’s automobile business. He was arrested last September. Turrell on May 22 admitted in court to selling cocaine. He pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. As part of a plea deal, he faced a maximum of two years in state prison.

Turrell said in court that he had the cocaine and it was shared by some of his friends. Sharing it with friends fits the legal definition of selling, Judge Punch said.

Turrell has “no substantial criminal history,” Punch said during sentencing on Monday. The judge said he didn’t think Turrell had reached the criminal level of going to state prison.

When the judge said that, Turrell’s attorney Robert King said Turrell wanted the Willard program in the state prison system.

It was a rare request, long-time court observers said, for a defendant to request state prison over local probation.

“I thought you would benefit from probation because you have a very limited record,” Punch told Turrell. “I will request Willard, but there is no guarantee you will get in.”

Turrell, after conferring with his attorney, said he wanted the state prison sentence.

The judge sentenced him to 1 ½ years in state prison. He also agreed to a request from Turrell’s attorney to not suspend Turrell’s driver’s license because Turrell needs it to keep operating the auto business when he is out of prison.

“It looks like you have a drug problem just like about every defendant these days,” the judge said. “It looks like you are serious about dealing with it.”

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