Judge orders jail time to start 'now'

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A week ago today, Lewisburg woman was ordered to spend 30 days in jail "starting right now" as punishment for a domestic assault that happened in December.

Patricia M. Oldham, 54, of Water Street, had a bench trial last month, after which Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler found her guilty. Wednesday, July 20, Oldham was in court for sentencing.

Oldham struck her daughter "twice in the left side of the face," during an altercation on Dec. 21, according to the report by Lewisburg Police Officer Russell Grubbs.

Crigler studied Oldham's case file and noted at least four probation violations and 18 prior convictions, mostly misdemeanors, but one felony theft. According to her mother, who was called to the witness stand by the Public Defender's Office, Oldham is on disability. She's diabetic, and suffers from cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis C, and an enlarged spleen, as well as bipolar disorder, depression and psychosis.

"She's been back on her meds for the last six or seven months, and doing much better," the mother testified, admitting that Oldham has trouble controlling her anger "if she's off her meds."

"I'm confronted with a lot of unique situations as a judge," Crigler said. "Her criminal record is atrocious. It easily merits the maximum sentence."

Assistant District Attorney Bud Bottoms agreed.

"She's no stranger to jail time," Bottoms said.

The judge decided 30 days was a fitting punishment for the Class B misdemeanor, and Oldham submitted meekly to being searched and handcuffed by jail personnel.

Also sentenced on Wednesday were

* Edwin Dewan Reese, 35, of 6th Avenue. Reese pled guilty last month to driving after having been declared a Habitual Motor Vehicle Offender, and also pled guilty to failure to appear.

Crigler commented that Reese had "a long history of criminal conduct," with a record dating back to 1995, in other words, the whole of his adult life. Offenses include driving under the influence, assault, evading arrest, probation violations, and possession of cocaine for resale. Reese still has active cases in Lewisburg because he has failed to pay fines and costs. The judge further noted, "Jail time hasn't deterred him from re-offending." Crigler sentenced Reese to one year and six month on each count, to be served consecutively, for an effective sentence of three years.

* John Thomas Beech III, 64, of Primrose Place, Chapel Hill, pleaded guilty to charges of felony DUI and driving on a revoked license. According to his case file, Beech got his first DUI in 1984 and has been accumulating them ever since. On March 24, when he was stopped in Lewisburg by Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Ronny Wright, Beech "admitted to drinking half a bottle of vodka that morning." Crigler sentenced him to one year and six months on the DUI, of which he must serve at least 30 percent, and, consecutive to that, 11 months 29 days for the driving on revoked, of which he must serve 45 days.