A 23-year-old homeless man who once lived in Fallston can return to Harford Circuit Court in about four years and call Judge William O. Carr a fool if he successfully completes his sentence and probation.
Judge Carr made that promise last week to Matthew Corey Smith before sentencing him to 10 years on a theft charge with tTC all but one year and one day suspended and placing him on three years of supervised probation.
Judge Carr also agreed to let Smith enter a rehabilitation clinic as soon as an opening is available. Judge Carr said he didn't believe Smith could remain drug- and alcohol-free.
"If you can, I promise I'll let you come back, stand here and say, 'You fool, you were wrong,' " the judge said.
Smith pleaded guilty to one count of stealing $740. The money belonged to a Maryland State Police fund set aside to make purchases from drug dealers. It must be repaid as a stipulation of the defendant's probation.
Prosecutor Hans Miller said that on Jan. 23, the defendant agreed to sell a half-pound of marijuana to a state police informant.
The sale was set up at a Rock Spring fast-food restaurant parking lot, but the defendant had the informant drive him to an area near C. Milton Wright High School. The defendant then left the informant's van and escaped with the money in an accomplice's car, Mr. Miller said.
Harford County Joint Narcotics Task Force agents found the suspect and arrested him without incident three days later.
After his arrest, the defendant told task force agents, "I didn't know it was the police's money," Mr. Miller said.
Maureen Rowland, a public defender representing Smith, asked Judge Carr to let her client enter a rehabilitation clinic as soon as a bed becomes available.
"Even before he was arrested on this charge, he was trying to get himself into a treatment program," Ms. Rowland said. "He could have been bailed out by a friend but chose to sit in the detention center rather than return to running with the same crowd."
Judge Carr agreed to the request for a chance at rehabilitation and made his promise to the defendant.
In other Circuit Court matters last week:
* A 20-year-old North Carolina man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Harford Circuit Court to charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Police found 779 grams of cocaine wrapped in duct tape and hidden behind the glove box of the man's car.
Tywaine Sherell Denny of Morganton, N.C., was sentenced to 15 years with all but 30 months suspended. After he gets out of prison, he will be on probation for two years.
A state trooper stopped Denny on Interstate 95 near Aberdeen Jan. 26 after noticing that Denny's 1980 Oldsmobile had a malfunctioning taillight, said prosecutor Gerard S. Comen. The defendant, who told troopers he was traveling from New York to his North Carolina home, appeared very nervous, Mr. Comen said. A police drug dog alerted officers to narcotics in the Oldsmobile.
* A former professional jockey who lives on a farm in White Hall was given a suspended one-year, one-day sentence and placed on two years of supervised probation after pleading guilty Tuesday to growing marijuana.
A state trooper on a routine aerial search in September 1994 saw several marijuana plants growing in a field in northern Harford County.
The defendant, Shanon K. Batchelor, 39, of the 4000 block of Harford Creamery Road was arrested Oct. 4 after the Harford County Joint Narcotics Task Force raided the farm and found a dozen marijuana plants hanging in the house to dry.
Her attorney, Philip N. Tirabassi, in seeking leniency for his client, told Judge William O. Carr that Ms. Batchelor had successfully chaired the Falling Branch committee, which helped raise money for Rocks State Park.