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Judge: 2-year drugs sentence should be higher

News File Photo The Alpena County courthouse appears in this August 2021 News archive photo.

ALPENA — A man who allegedly beat a woman while she was driving a vehicle carrying hundreds of doses of methamphetamine will go to prison for two years, a judge said on Monday.

That sentence should have been stiffer, said Judge Ed Black, who handed down the sentence in Alpena’s 26th Circuit Court.

In July, police arrested Harold Phillips, 47, after a woman with visible bruising on her face and apparently under the influence of drugs was dropped off at the MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena emergency entrance, naming Phillips as her abuser.

Phillips told the court he was headed north “to indulge in addictive behavior” at the time of his arrest.

“That, to me, does not just speak of addictive behavior,” Black said, noting the more than 90 grams of meth, baggies, and other items sometimes associated with drug sales police found in Phillip’s vehicle. “That speaks of more.”

Defense attorney Rick Steiger said Phillips claimed the drugs were not his.

Alpena County Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski dismissed a meth delivery charge in July.

Unaware of a sentencing agreement reached at the time of Phillips’ guilty plea to the remaining possession charge, Black had planned to sentence Phillips to four years in prison, he said on Monday.

“That’s what I still believe should happen,” said Black, who agreed to Muszynski’s request that he follow the initial sentencing agreement.

Claiming the other counties where he’s been arrested have never offered him help breaking his addiction, Phillips asked Black for a sentence that involves inpatient rehabilitation.

Phillips can get the help he needs in prison, said Black, sentencing him to 23 months to 10 years’ incarceration.

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