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CHARLESTON -- A man was placed in Coles County's drug court program after pleading guilty to a methamphetamine offense that otherwise would have required prison time.

Joseph P. Carlen, 38, for whom court records list an address of 1309 DeWitt Ave., Mattoon, entered the plea to a charge accusing him of having the drug on Oct. 24.

Carlen also pleaded guilty to driving while license revoked charges, felonies because of prior convictions, in connection with the same incident and with one on Sept. 14 of last year.

A charge alleging he also had methamphetamine of Jan. 15 was dismissed.

His bond requirements were modified to include the drug court program and sentencing was delayed pending his progress. If completed successfully, drug court can lead to charges being dismissed.

The methamphetamine charges against Carlen would have required prison sentences of two to 10 years because he has a prior methamphetamine offense conviction from 2011.

The prosecution also agreed not to seek revocation of the probation sentence Carlen received for a 2015 domestic battery offense.

Coles County Circuit Judge Brien O'Brien ordered the drug court program based on recommendations from State's Attorney Brian Bower and Public Defender Anthony Ortega.

In other cases in court recently, O'Brien also accepted guilty pleas from:

  • John K. Staggs, 45, whose address on record is 1409 Wabash Ave., Apt. 2, Mattoon, to a methamphetamine possession charge alleging he had the drug on July 6.

A felony charge of driving with a revoked license in connection with the same incident was dismissed and Staggs was placed on probation for two years.

Terms of the sentence included an evaluation for substance abuse treatment and about 2 1/2 months in jail.

Staggs was also ordered to pay about $1,600 in fines and court fees while more jail time was stayed, meaning he won't have to serve it if he follows his requirements.

O'Brien accepted a plea agreement that Assistant State's Attorney Tom Bucher and Ortega recommended.

  • Amanda D. Ross, 32, for whom records list an address of 1809 10th St., Charleston, to a theft charge alleging she stole money from the Charleston Arby's restaurant while employed there in August and September.

Ross was sentenced to two years of second chance probation, which can result in no record of a conviction if completed successfully. Terms included payment of about $1,200 in restitution and stayed jail time.

Assistant State's Attorney Rob Scales and Ortega recommended the plea agreement.

  • Randall L. Brown, 56, whose address on record is 101 Indiana St., Ashmore, to a charge of driving while license revoked or suspended in connection with a traffic stop on Aug. 21.

The offense was a felony because of prior convictions and terms of Brown's two-year probation sentence included six months of home confinement. Traffic citations were dismissed.

Assistant State's Attorney Jenifer Schiavone and defense attorney Douglas Lawlyes recommended the plea agreement.

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