CLINTON — A Clinton man was granted a suspended sentence and ordered to complete the Residential Corrections Facility program on a forgery charge.

Joseph Jackson, 34, 215 N. Sixth St., appeared Thursday in Clinton County District Court for sentencing on one count of forgery, a Class D felony.

Assistant Clinton County Attorney Ross Barlow referenced a plea agreement reached among the parties that said the State would recommend a suspended sentence and placement at the RCF. Barlow stated Jackson was released on Aug. 8 and was arrested in a serious misdemeanor case, giving the State the ability to change its recommendation from the one contained in the plea agreement.

Barlow stated he believes Jackson is a good candidate for the RCF program but expressed concern with some of Jackson’s answers contained in the pre-sentence investigation report and his attitude toward the RCF program. Barlow said if Jackson is not going to take the programming seriously he did not want to waste the time of Jackson and people at the RCF. Barlow recommended incarceration but said it was up to Jackson to convince the court he wanted placement at the RCF.

Defense attorney Lori Kieffer Garrison requested the court to grant Jackson a suspended sentence and order placement at the Residential Corrections Facility. Kieffer Garrison said she believes Jackson has not had much structure in his life and believes the RCF would provide that structure. She said this would help Jackson get a job, find a place to live, seek substance abuse treatment and attend Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

Jackson said he needs structure and believes the RCF program would help him with a job, get substance abuse treatment and get on his feet. He said he wanted the opportunity to do the RCF program.

District Court Judge Mark Lawson suspended an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed five years. Jackson was ordered to pay a $750 fine. Lawson placed Jackson on probation for two years unless sooner released by his probation officer. Lawson stated Jackson’s record demonstrates “a propensity for criminal behavior.” Lawson said despite his record, the court was willing to give Jackson a chance to successfully complete the RCF program. He said the court agreed he needs structure. Lawson ordered Jackson to repay attorney fees not to exceed $600.

According to the affidavit, at 6:40 a.m. April 15, an officer was dispatched for a burglary complaint. The officer made contact with the victim, who stated he left his locked residence around 1 p.m. April 14. The victim returned home from work and observed someone unknown had damaged the front interior door and entered the residence. The suspect took a television and laptop from the front room. The suspect also took a checkbook.

The affidavit states at approximately 10:14 a.m. April 20, officers were dispatched to U.S. Bank, 405 S. Third St., in reference to a forgery complaint. Officers arrived on scene and made contact with Jackson, who was attempting to cash a check belonging to the victim. Jackson stated he sold some merchandise to someone he did not know on Craigslist. Jackson said he met the unknown person who gave him a check. Jackson said he walked to U.S. Bank to cash it. The officer subsequently placed Jackson under arrest for forgery.

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