October 2, 2014

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Veteran Services commissioner placed in diversion program for marijuana arrest

 Don Attie

Don Attie

AVON LAKE — Lorain County Veterans Service Commissioner Don Attie was placed in a diversion program Thursday for a marijuana arrest in May.

Under the terms of the agreement, reached in Avon Lake Municipal Court, Attie must complete 20 hours of community service and a drug awareness class in addition to making a $100 donation to a charity of his choice and paying $200 in supervision fees.

If Attie completes the program by October, the possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia charges he pleaded guilty to during his court appearance will be dropped, Sheffield Prosecutor Chris Cook said.

The case will be sealed from public view once the diversion program is completed, Cook said.

Attorney John Prusak said his client was satisfied.

“It was a good resolution to avoid any conviction for the parties involved,’’ he said.

Cook said although Attie has a previous felony drug conviction from 41 years ago, he felt allowing the Vietnam veteran to participate in the diversion program was appropriate because otherwise Attie had a clean record.

Attie was cited on the drug charges at 12:20 p.m. May 12 after Lorain County Metro Parks Ranger Capt. Michael Goodrich spotted Attie’s van in French Creek Reservation. Goodrich wrote in his report that he thought the two people in the van were engaged in sexual conduct, an allegation Attie has vehemently denied.

While he was talking with Attie and Patricia Falbo, who also was in the van, Goodrich smelled marijuana and asked if there was anything illegal inside. Attie said he had some marijuana.

The report said Goodrich found a burnt marijuana cigarette on the dashboard and three other joints in the van. He also found an open 24-ounce can of Bud Light beer on the floorboard after Falbo got out of the vehicle.

Cook said an open container citation against Falbo will be dropped if Attie completes the diversion program.

Attie previously said he uses marijuana to treat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, which he developed while serving in the military. He has been a vocal proponent of legalizing medical marijuana in addition to his work on numerous veterans’ causes in the county.

He said in July that he views his marijuana use and advocacy as separate from the work he does on behalf of veterans and their families.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.


  • JustaTech

    Legalize it. This is just stupid.

    • golfingirl

      But don’t smoke, get high and then drive!

      • JustaTech

        Actually: “Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows”

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/08/05/since-marijuana-legalization-highway-fatalities-in-colorado-are-at-near-historic-lows/

        • Bruce Tennant

          they are probably all home eating Doritos and staying off the roads…..nonetheless… I think we should quite wasting time and money on it and legalize it and deal with more important issues.

        • Pablo Jones

          And homeless numbers for 16-25 years have increased.

          • JustaTech

            Actually it’s 18-25 year old’s. They attribute it to people who were already homeless elsewhere and have come to Colorado in search of work in the legal marijuana industry. That being said, homelessness amongst Veterans has dropped significantly through housing programs financed in part by increased tax revenue from legal marijuana sales.

            http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2014/0726/More-young-homeless-in-Denver-drawn-by-legal-marijuana

          • Pablo Jones

            Veteran homelessness rates have dropped because the VA has been going through a big push to house veterans for the last 5 years. They have been building apartments/sleeping rooms on many VA medical center campuses or near by. They have spent billions of dollars on this. The MJ tax has raised maybe around $60 million (been awhile since I saw the number) so far and it is not being spent on veterans. Don’t give credit to MJ that others deserve.

          • Lisa
          • Lisa

            Pablo, you are correct! Read the link below… I’m a Veteran and I received a voucher after I lost my job… The VA funds these programs…

          • jz

            You can’t honestly believe that weed legalization has anything to do with homelessness?

          • Pablo Jones

            Well drug use is a primary cause of homelessness. As for Denver they do ask those that are homeless and they have said they came to Denver for the legal marijuana.

        • golfingirl

          Not the point.

          Point is….you should not consume any intoxicants and drive. I think we can all agree on this.

          Driving impaired is never a positive activity.

          • jz

            Nobody disagrees with your point. However, it is not the only point being made here. For anyone to come to the conclusion that homelessness has anything to do with weed legalization? Come on now, get a grip.

          • Pablo Jones

            Apparently it is the homeless kids that are the ones coming to that conclusion first. This is just speculation based on a numbers increase, it is based on what they are saying.

  • Sis Delish

    Attorney John Prusak may be getting a call from Ed FitzGerald’s Campaign… “Goodrich wrote in his report that he thought the two people in the van were engaged in sexual conduct, an allegation Attie has vehemently denied.” LOL

  • GreatRedeemer

    Smoking, drinking in the park while in a vehicle that presumably will be driven away, really. Couldn’t you just get a room somewhere.

  • stillsleepyeyes

    this is a joke……….how does Patty get out of a open container ticket if he finishes his diversion program. The sign at the park says no alcoholic beverages………..wth

    • Joe Smith

      He gets away with it just like anybody else who is offered a program rather than the fine. I (MANY years ago) was allowed to take a program rather than pay a fine for a seat belt violation.

  • The Chief

    Study: State Medical Marijuana Laws Associated With Lower Rates Of Opiate-Induced Fatalities
    Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Likelihood Of Domestic Violence

    http://norml.org/news

  • Joe Smith

    “must complete 20 hours of community service and a drug awareness class in addition to making a $100 donation to a charity of his choice”
    It would be funny if he donated to a pro legalization charity if one exists

    • The Chief

      National Organization Of Reform Marijuana Laws
      http://norml.org/

      • JustaTech

        While that is a non-profit organization, it’s not a charity. Great idea, though!

  • Tonythetiger

    There is no justification for breaking the law – period. What if everyone just had a rationale for everything they were doing and the court agreed and gave them a no sentence as this appears to be. So he’s a vet. So are 25 thousand other Lorain county residents. What if they all started breaking the law because of stress disorder? Etc etc etc… plus he is in a public leadership position spending our public dollars taken from OUR property taxes. But we don’t get to vote on that or challenge his thinking at an election. This plain not right and the sentence us way to lenient. And folks om taking millions of our local dollars……! Don’t let the fact that he’s a vet fool you like it did the courts. This is a sweetheart deal to say the least. By the way this joker was appointed by no other than the knock headed Jimmy BURGE…. no you know the rest of the story..

    • JustaTech

      What if the laws are stupid, irrelevant or outdated? I was just chewing bubble gum while standing on a street corner. Should I have gone to jail?

      http://www.oocities.org/athens/parthenon/6528/shaunlaws.htm

      • Tonythetiger

        I guess it’s outdated to not allow sitting smoking drugs and drinking Beer with a lady not your wife in a secluded space with a posted no alcohol allowed in a public park in a vehicle you’re going to drive away in….. Ok… I guess… Also strange how the prosecutor in the case bought his house off judge jimmy burge who appointed this guy… Sweetheart deal? Ya think… Just another dot to connect….

        • jz

          Sounds like you got other irrelevant axes to grind. Getting your bottoms all bunched up over [on a scale of seriousness about a 1] this offense is silly. What the guy happens to be, who appointed him, the fact he is married, are all circumstances you are connecting the dots due to your own axe to grind. Who has not smoked a little weed at a park with a friend at some time in their life? People from every walk of life that’s who. You are right there is a sign. You are right, he should not be drunk and driving but that does not appear to be the case here. Who has not drunk 1-2 beers and drove a car? OK. He’s busted. And you make a federal case out of it and feel justified in throwing the “not his wife” dot in there even though that is not part of the elements of the O.R.C. here.