Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rasberry’s burglar gets chance at rehab

Judge tells defendant he needs to resolve alcohol problem


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Paul Silvas Armendarez Jr.

A 20-year-old Hailey man will get a chance at rehabilitation through the Idaho Department of Correction after being sentenced Monday to the state "rider" program for burglarizing Rasberrys Restaurant & Catering in January to steal alcohol.

Sentence for Paul Silvas Armendarez Jr. was pronounced Monday in Blaine County 5th District Court. Under the rider program, Armendarez could be held in custody for up to a year. Judge Robert J. Elgee also gave the defendant a five-year suspended prison sentence that can be reinstated if he fails at rehabilitation.

Armendarez was charged with felony burglary for stealing alcohol from the Rasberry's storage garage in Hailey on the morning of Jan. 22. He was arrested by Hailey police later that day and has remained in custody in the Blaine County jail since.

He pleaded guilty to the crime in February in a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. As part of the agreement, a second charge of misdemeanor possession of alcohol by someone under 21 was dismissed.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback told the court at sentencing that Armendarez has repeatedly been in trouble with the law for the past several years.

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"My point is Mr. Armendarez has been committing crimes for a long time," Fredback said. "He needs to grow up and think about what he's doing."

Fredback noted that Armendarez has a good job history and got good grades in school, but said he seems to keep getting into trouble because of alcohol.

"I don't think probation works for him," he said. "I think something more than probation is needed to get his attention. If he keeps on with what he's doing, then he's going to end up in the pen."

Ketchum attorney Dan Dolan, assigned as public defender, asked the court for probation for his client.

"Paul recognizes that one of his biggest problems is alcohol," Dolan said. "The problems he's gotten into the last several months relate back to his consumption of alcohol."

Armendarez told the judge that he would like to move to Twin Falls and resume his education while undergoing alcohol treatment. However, Elgee said he doesn't think Armendarez could solve his alcohol problems without rigorous treatment as provided by the rider program.

"This is obviously a burglary that was alcohol-fueled," Elgee said. " ... Now is the time to change your life or you're going to be thrown away."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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