Cortland judge praises defendant for seeking treatment

CORTLAND, N.Y. – A Homer man who admitted to burglarizing a Cortland home last year was able to avoid jail time by successfully completing a drug treatment program.

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Joshua M. Fortin, 30, of 30 Prospect Street, was sentenced Thursday in Cortland County Court to six months of probation for his role in a burglary that took place in December 2014. Fortin previously pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny, a class D felony. His accomplices were previously sentenced in the case.

According to police, Fortin and two others – Patrick S. Mazzone and Jamie L. Ferris – stole a rare shotgun worth $12,000 and several items of jewelry from a home on Pine Street. Fortin broke into the home while the others acted as lookouts.

Police were able to identify Fortin as a suspect after a witness reported seeing his vehicle near the home.

As part of a plea deal reached in May, Fortin would be sentenced to six months of incarceration and five years probation for pleading guilty to grand larceny – with the condition that the incarceration would not be included in his sentence if he successfully completed a drug treatment program. Fortin completed drug treatment in October.

Prior to his sentencing Thursday, Judge Julie Campbell praised Fortin for seeking treatment for his heroin addiction and working with police investigators.

“You cooperated fully with the investigation and have taken responsibility for your actions,” Judge Campbell told Fortin. “You have also taken positive steps toward long-term progress to beat that addiction. That is exactly what I’d hoped you would do.”

Campbell added that while Fortin has a long road ahead of him, a large number of defendants are not successful in completing treatment programs and overcoming addiction.

Fortin declined to speak at sentencing, but in his police statement last December he appeared to express remorse for the crime.

“I would like to say that I am sorry that I did this, and would like to make it right,” Fortin told a police investigator. “I need help for my addiction, and this is the reason that I went into the house.”

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