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COURT

Mentz man will serve 4 years in prison for violating probation on drug charges

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AUBURN — New York State Police found Joshua Ely unconscious behind the wheel of a vehicle off the Thruway on June 17.

The 37-year-old was sentenced Thursday in Cayuga County Court to four years in prison for that incident, which violated his probation.

Ely, formerly of 1547 Route 31 in Mentz, was charged with two misdemeanors: third-degree unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving while ability impaired by drugs.

He was previously on probation for five years after he was convicted in 2017 of fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, both class D felonies.

Judge Thomas Leone said during an Aug. 8 hearing that Ely's heroin relapses after exiting treatment programs seemed to be a "reoccurring pattern." 

"I'm concerned he's going to turn up dead," Leone said.

On Sept. 26, Ely admitted to violating the terms of his probation. The court did not give him an agreed-upon or promised sentence at the time. On Thursday, Leone had to decide how to resentence Ely for his 2017 drug convictions.

Probation Officer Nick Flanigan said Ely has had multiple options for treatment and recommended that his probation be revoked — which defense counsel Rome Canzano said he wasn't opposed to. Canzano advocated for the minimum prison sentence and that Ely still be eligible for treatment programs. 

Leone imposed two four-year prison sentences to run concurrently for each drug conviction. Ely will also have two years of parole after his release.

Also in court:

• Chandler Rude, 21, was also given a prison sentence for violating probation.

Rude gave a fake name to Auburn police officers and attempted to flee from arrest on Aug. 1 after stealing from Kinney Drugs at 67 Owasco St. in Auburn, said Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann.

In December 2016, Rude was previously given youthful offender status and five years of probation after being convicted of third-degree burglary, a class D felony, in Ontario County, according to statements made in open court.

Rude pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, in exchange for one to three years in prison without a shock camp component.

• Leone sentenced Joseph Chehovich to serve six months in jail followed by about 4.5 years of probation.

But Chehovich, 53, already spent six months in jail pending the outcome of his case. Flanigan said he would be released from custody later on Thursday to begin probation.

Chehovich pleaded guilty Aug. 20 to violating a previously-imposed period of probation by not reporting a change of address — that he was evicted and moved into his car — in June. He was convicted in 2010 on child pornography charges.

The terms of his probation require Chehovich to work with the Community Action Programs Cayuga/Seneca. 

Staff writer Mary Catalfamo can be reached at (315) 282-2244 or mary.catalfamo@lee.net. Find her on Twitter @mrycatalfamo.

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Crime/courts reporter

I cover criminal court, public safety and the Cayuga County government for The Citizen and auburnpub.com. You can also find my health and entertainment features online and in the Lake Life section of the paper.

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