Judges chooses fine over jail, trying to reach repeat offender

A Princeton man with eight convictions for failing to meet court and probation orders was fined $1,000 last Thursday in circuit court after pleading guilty to not reporting to his probation officer.

Cole Aiken, 22, has been incarcerated at least three times for similar offenses. Judge Michelle Daneliuk said prison is not proving to be an effective deterrent.

“Jail hasn’t worked. Maybe it will finally wake you up that you will have to pay a fine.”

Crown attorney Vern Frolick asked the court to sentence Aiken to between 60 and 90 days in jail.

Related: Princeton man reacts emotionally to jail sentence

Defense attorney Kate Lundman argued that Aiken is “back on track” and recently got a job.

“Were it not for the fact that Mr. Aiken is employed I would have no hesitation of putting him in jail for 90 days, absolutely none,” said Daneliuk.

The judge acknowledged she was granting Aiken “a little bit of lenience.”

She noted his recent transgressions were “administrative. In other words the only person you are really hurting is yourself. Probation is supposed to help rehabilitate people…Because you won’t get to your obligations to report it’s kind of outrageous.”

Last July Aiken was sentenced to 90 days house arrest after pleading guilty to several probation breaches including spending time with a young female with whom he was ordered by the court to have no contact.

Those probation conditions stemmed from an earlier case when the young woman was assaulted.

Related: Princeton man who went to jail for failing to report to probation officer back in court

His house arrest was revoked after he again failed to report to his probation officer, and he was remanded into custody in September to finish his sentence behind bars.

“Do not be back before the court Mr. Aiken for failing to meet another obligation,” warned Daneliuk.

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