Wyoming man given suspended sentence

Brady Mitchell. Courtesy/GCSO

TORRINGTON – A Wyoming man, Brady Mitchell, was given two suspended prison sentences, both no less than three, no more than five years of incarceration Monday morning at the Goshen County Courthouse. 

District Judge Ed Buchanan presided over the sentencing.

Mitchell, 31, plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of possession of controlled substances, with one being Kolonopin. Mitchell was arrested on March 26, 2023 during a probation search due to previous charges.

According to the Public Defense Attorney Dave MacDonald, Mitchell has had a long tumultuous battle with addiction for many years.

“His criminal history is consistent with drug and alcohol use,” MacDonald said. “Cases that he does have, such as convictions for crimes of violence occurred while he was under the influence, or trying to obtain those drugs. It’s a common thing. Mr. Mitchell is an addict. He needs treatment rather than incarceration.”

MacDonald further noted that choosing to incarcerate Mitchell would separate himself from his addiction, however it would not be expedient in treating the addiction itself.

“When we look at his criminal history it’s really the typical history of an addict,” MacDonald continued. “There’s a lot more good to be served by treating the underlying problem rather than incarcerating and putting off the problem. He’s been incarcerated for almost four months now. His thinking has turned back to a rational basis, not somebody who is under the influence. Now is a time to enter intensive impatient treatment in attempt to deal with that issue.”

MacDonald further presented the concept that his client was and can be a beneficial family man, and member of society when he is living a clean, sober life. MacDonald further stated that probation would be a far more appropriate sentence for Mitchell at this time.

“He’s not a hardened criminal,” MacDonald continued. “I think at this time, the best thing for Mr. Mitchell, society in general and his family would be a period sentence of probation, with a condition being entered in a residential treatment program, while participating in aftercare. While he’s been in custody, he has been participating in rehabilitation programs offered such as CDL training, and has been compliant in testing. He’s been utilizing his time efficiently. He’s generally a worker when he’s not in the deep throws of his addiction. Probation this time would be appropriate and beneficial for everyone in the long run.”

Goshen County Prosecuting Attorney, Eric Boyer, was in agreement with MacDonald, noting the addiction, not the character of Mitchell being responsible for numerous run-ins with the law.

“The state agrees with that,” Boyer said. “His addiction has haunted him for much of his life even back when he was a juvenile. I would argue that Mr. Mitchell is intelligent and capable. I think it’s contested by anyone that Mr. Mitchell has indeed had a difficult life.”

Boyer was remindful however, this has not been the first time Mitchell had been charged and recommended for treatment, and that the hold of addiction has greatly impacted his family members, and society around him.

“The rug facing the argument today is Mr. Mitchell’s lengthy involvement with the justice system revolves around controlled substances,” Boyer continued. “Mr. Mitchell already has had a sentencing for a felony drug case, followed by probation. The defendant struggles with drug addiction with little follow, and it has jeopardized relationships with his family and his own life. It is recommended that Mr. Mitchell receive level-three impatient treatment. He has two children, two and five years old. For their sake he needs to break this cycle of abuse. Mr. Mitchell has got to put his life together. He’s had every chance, and he’s simply got to get life figured out.”

Boyer suggested a period of suspended incarceration would be appropriate for this particular case.

“Not for the sake of just himself and family, but to be the hardworking young father that we know he can be.”

Judge Buchanan spoke just prior to sentencing, acknowledging both defense and prosecution. Buchanan then focused his words solely on Mitchell, and a vast history of substance abuse problems.

“It’s an understatement to say you have a substance abuse problem,” Buchanan began. “Everyone knows your criminal history confirms it. You have been to treatment before. Obviously, that doesn’t work, and hasn’t worked. You’re 31 years old. You have kids that you can’t take care of because of the substance abuse. You have relationships and peer groups that encourage substance abuse. Nothing has really changed in the court’s eyes that you take seriously the issue that is in front of you. I don’t know what deterrent works for you. You’ve had prior suspended sentencing, and you have a poor track record on probation. That is a primary reason why a pre-sentence investigation of the court says you’re not a good candidate for community supervision. Your criminal history dates back over a decade, and it’s all about substance abuse. My first thought was to give you a sentence that would allow you time to complete treatment in prison. You’re track history is something that unfortunately does not give me any real faith that you will be successful at treatment outside of prison walls, and this is the truth.”

Judge Buchanan then spoke words of understanding. The judge offered Mitchell a final chance of hopefully turning things around for good, handing Mitchell suspended prison sentences on two counts of possession.

“Having said that, I’m going to give you the opportunity to prove me wrong. As Mr. MacDonald said, sometimes I suppose these things take more than one attempt. I’m not going to wave any fines or fees, because if you are serious about treatment, my plan for you would be to successfully complete it, get a job and be employable. Nobody expects it to be paid back all at once. I’ve never seen anyone have their probation revoked if they are making an effort. This offers you the opportunity to do a lot better things in your life rather than sitting in prison. I often tell people who come in this is the first time in me meeting you, and you me. But I get to know you through this. I know the opportunity that I’ve given you. If you come back and hopefully you don’t, I think you can know what you to expect. You have an opportunity and I hope you take it.”