Alabama man with multiple arrests sent to prison on 'road rage' incident, other convictions
An attorney for a 32-year-old Alabama man in court to be sentenced on multiple crimes expressed regret Wednesday that his client had missed his chance at a drug rehab stint before the man rammed his car into another vehicle on Bliss Road in Oakfield in December.
The timing just didn't work out Christian Catalano suggested before recommending a minimum prison sentence for Jason Allen Klinkbeil on his convictions for grand larceny, 3rd, and falsifying business documents -- one and a half to three years on each count to run concurrently.
Klinkbeil had also previously admitted to first-degree vehicle assault and Victor Mui represented Klinkbeil on that conviction.
The assault incident occurred less than two weeks after Klinkbeil was indicted by the grand larceny on the falsifying business records counts; Mui also asked for a minimum prison term.
Both attorneys said Klinkbeil doesn't have much of a criminal record, noting only one felony conviction for aggravated unauthorized operation, 1st, and should be given some consideration for his admission of guilt and seeking treatment for his substance abuse problem.
Catalano said his client was addicted to opiates.
For his part, Klinkbeil told Judge Charles Zambito that he takes responsibility for his actions and recognizes he has a drug problem he needs to address. He said he's been working and taking care of his family since his arrests in December.
"I realize I had a lot of wrong views before I had a family," Catalano said. "That's why I'm here today, trying to get things straight so I can get back to my family."
At the start of the hearing, Mui said his client wanted to ask for a two-week continuance in the sentencing so he could spend more time with his kids. District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said he saw no reason to delay the sentencing and Zambito denied the request.
Friedman had asked Zambito to impose the maximum possible sentence under the terms of the plea agreement, which was five and a half to 11 years.
Zambito said Klinkbeil's criminal actions are an example of "the harm substance abuse or alcohol abuse can produce, not only for yourself but for people around you and people you don't know."
The grand larceny charge, Zambito noted, involved a theft to obtain more drugs, and the falsifying business documents charge stemmed from trying to pawn items taken from a friend.
In the first case, Zambito said Catalano was right. That might have been a case that was eligible for transfer to drug court but in the second case, Zambito said he didn't believe Klinkbeil had accepted responsibility for his actions. Zambito had said that Klinkbeil had in some prior statement tried to blame his friend for the situation.
Klinkbeil, who had mostly been sitting between his attorneys at the defense table with his head down, looked at Zambito at this point and sat forward as if he was about to speak. He didn't.
Zambito sentenced Klinkbeil to one and a third years on the grand larceny conviction and two to four years on the falsifying business records conviction, with the sentences to run concurrently.
Klinkbeil was sentenced as a second felony offender because of a prior aggravated unlicensed operation conviction, 1st. Contrary to the attorney's statements that Klinkbeil has a minimal criminal record, Zambito noted he's been arrested multiple times and that he had a prior probation violation.
Klinkbeil's prior criminal record includes arrests for:
- Possession of a controlled substance, 7th, in Le Roy in July 2012
- Criminal trespass, 3rd, in Le Roy in September 2012
- Petit larceny in Le Roy in February 2013
- Petit larceny in the City of Batavia in March 2014
- A DWAI in Livonia in May 2016
- Petit larceny in Greece in July 2016
- AUO, 1st, in Livingston County in October 2016
On the business record charge, Zambito also ordered Klinkbeil to pay $372.60 in restitution.
Then Zambito turned to the vehicular assault conviction, which he said was the far more serious charge, calling it a "road rage" incident.
"You put the physical safety and lives of others at stake," Zambito said.
The judge noted the incongruity of Klinkbeil's desire to take care of his family and the fact that his wife was in the car at the time of the incident.
"This was all fueled by substance abuse," Zambito said.
When Zambito reiterated that Klinkbeil didn't seem to show any remorse for the falsifying business records, Klinkbeil did speak up but Catalano told him not to speak.
"There must be a prison sentence but must it be the max?" Zambito said. "I'll give you the benefit of the concurrent sentence and give you three-and-a-half to seven years."