Homer man sentenced to up to three years in prison

Joshua M. Strauf, 32, of Homer. (Photo Source: Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

A Town of Homer man was sentenced to 1-to-3 years in state prison on Thursday at Cortland County Court, following his conviction of third-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

Joshua M. Strauf, 32, was arrested last year after he stole two vehicles between September and October.

The first vehicle that Strauf stole was from an address on Route 41A in Cayuga County. It was recovered by Cortland County Sheriff’s Deputies at an address on East Homer Baltimore Road in the town of Homer.

The second vehicle that Strauf stole was from the same address in the town of Homer. The vehicle was located, and unoccupied, in the town of Truxton.

The sentences will run concurrently with each other, said county judge Julie Campbell. The sentencing will include parole supervision to allow Strauf to participate in drug rehabilitation through the Willard Drug Treatment program.

Campbell noted that Strauf’s past drug use has “influenced his criminal involvement.”

“(Strauf) has had 10 previous offenses, most of which are theft and drug-related,” Campbell said, who noted “a plethora” of vehicle and traffic offenses were included.

Strauf’s defense attorney, Natalie Miner, pleaded to the court to either put Strauf on probation for five years, or reduce his sentencing from the district attorney’s office recommendation of up to four years in prison, to 1-to-3 years.

Miner noted that Strauf has been engaged in counseling within the area, participated in probation interviews, working and trying to be a “better parent” to his children.

“My client has tried to get himself situated and do more positive things,” Miner said. “He stayed out of trouble when he was released between his plea (in January) and sentencing. They are all good things and positive steps that Joshua has decided to take and put himself in a better place.”

Campbell decided to go with Miner’s recommendation of incarceration, but didn’t consider the probation option.

“It’s impossible for the court to overlook the sheer volume of arrests,” she said, noting Strauf’s 12 arrests on his record. Ten of the arrests are misdemeanors and two of them are felonies.

Strauf currently owes $4,828 in total restitution. He decided to not appeal his sentencing.

“I’m just trying to do the right thing,” Strauf said.