The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 6, 2013

Judge suspends incarceration for attempted burglary

CLINTON — A Clinton County judge decided to suspend incarceration of a man who pleaded guilty to attempted burglary in the first degree.

“I just don’t see this case meriting a 10-year prison sentence,” Judge Mary Howes said. “I just don’t see any real benefit for sending him up there.”

Nicholas Fox, 32, was sentenced Thursday morning. Howes agreed with Defense Attorney Bruce Ingham and ordered that the up to 10 years in the Iowa Department of Corrections be suspended. He will instead complete probation at the Residential Corrections Facility in the Quad- Cities.

According to court documents, Clinton police were dispatched at 9:24 p.m. June 26 to 850 First Ave., apartment 26, for an assault. The victim informed the police that he had a phone conversation with Fox, advising him not to call again, or he would notify the police about warrants Fox had, according to the affidavit. The victim added that Fox said he would come to his apartment and hurt him.

Fox arrived at the victim’s apartment and pounded on the door, walking in without an invitation, according to court documents. Fox began hitting the victim repeatedly and bit him, according to the affidavit. The affidavit continues that two witnesses from outside of the apartment entered the apartment after Fox and pulled him off of the victim. Fox took off running away from the apartment complex.

Fox was later arrested for burglary in the first degree. On Nov. 30, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of attempted burglary in the first degree.

During the Thursday morning sentencing, Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf asked that Howes honor the pre-sentencing investigation’s recommendation of incarceration. Wolf stated that Fox has substance abuse issues that need to be addressed. He felt that incarceration would be the best option for Fox to address his issues.

“Mostly what Mr. Fox has is a serious substance abuse issue,” Ingham said.

Ingham pointed out that Fox does not have any prior felonies and has never be incarcerated before. He added that all of his previous charges were minor. Ingham pointed out that Fox has been able to reflect on his situation while serving 117 days in the Clinton County jail.

“I promised my kids I would change and I just want a chance to get some rehab,” Fox said in court.

Fox was visibly upset as he asked for a suspended sentence. He told Howes that he has three children and pays child support. He added that he does his best to be a good dad, but the past two years were difficult and he had serious substance abuse issues.

Howes said she sees some hope for Fox. He will remain in jail until he can be screened for RCF treatment and a bed opens up. She told Fox that he needs to work to stay on the straight and narrow from now on.

“I won’t let you down, I promise,” Fox said.

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