UPDATE: Harris has successfully appealed his guilty plea to attempted promoting prison contraband and will soon return to court to fight the contraband charge.
Joseph A. Harris, the man originally charged last year for threatening a Mt. Morris police officer with a knife, was sentenced Thursday in Livingston County Court to 1 year in County Jail, including the more than 6 months already served, and probation.
Harris entered the courtroom Thursday in a tan Livingston County Jail jumpsuit, flanked closely by Sheriff’s deputies. From the moment he entered the courtroom, his physical demeanor and energy was that of someone barely able to control himself. He said little as the proceedings progressed, and Judge Dennis Cohen, Assistant District Attorney Justin Hill, and Harris’ public defender, lawyer James McCann, discussed the agreed-upon sentence.
Before sentencing, McCann conveyed Harris’s request to the judge that he be allowed to serve the balance of his sentence in a substance abuse treatment facility located in Bradford, PA.
Harris spoke on his own behalf and explained, “It would make more sense for me to spend the time in treatment than sitting in jail with nothing to do.”
At one point, when it looked like Harris might lose control of himself, a deputy approached Harris, touched him, and talked to him in a low voice.
Harris calmed down somewhat and finished his remarks, and the judge was able to proceed to the actual sentencing. Harris’ request for treatment was denied, although Cohen suggested that it was something he might well consider doing after he had served the roughly 6 months remaining on his term.