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Published: Saturday, 11/18/2006

VanLandingham handed 4-month sentence in jail

Former City Council candidate Rick VanLandingham appears in court to be sentenced. Former City Council candidate Rick VanLandingham appears in court to be sentenced.

Richard VanLandingham, who gained a reputation by protesting on environmental issues, was sentenced yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to four months in a regional jail for forging signatures and filing fraudulent records with a county office.

Judge James Jensen told VanLandingham that he would have expected a law school graduate to understand the sanctity of public documents and hold a higher degree of respect for the judicial system.

VanLandingham, 37, of 1326 Paxton St., will do his sentence for forgery and tampering with records at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, Stryker.

Judge Jensen also placed the former Toledo City Council candidate and 2003 University of Toledo law school graduate on community control, formerly known as probation, for four years.

The tampering with records offense stems from VanLandingham producing phony paperwork on a home computer to reflect the transfer of 1405 Paxton from a woman to himself.

The forgery count goes to VanLandingham forging signatures of the woman and a bank employee on a deed transfer that was filed with the county recorder.

In reminding the defendant that the case began with a 2004 indictment, Judge Jensen chastised VanLandingham for his actions in delaying the case, including failing to show up twice in court and last month for trial.

Judge Jensen said the defendant's actions showed "a great deal of disrespect" for the judicial process.

"The reason this case took so long to come to conclusion was what I describe as a deceitful and intentional behavior to drag this out," the judge said.

Before being sentenced, VanLandingham said he has done a great deal of reflecting while being incarcerated for the last two weeks in the county jail, and came to the realization that he will never practice law because of the felony convictions.

Judge Jensen also ordered VanLandingham to perform 120 hours of community service and undergo mental health counseling.

If VanLandingham violates any of the terms of the sentence, Judge Jensen said he will go to prison for up to two years.

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