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Published: Tuesday, 10/26/2010

Felon sentenced to 18 1/2 years as career criminal

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

During his lifetime, Dean Randleman has been in and out of trouble - criminal behavior and convictions that ultimately resulted in a lengthy federal court sentence.

Monday, the Toledo man was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Toledo to 18 1/2 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Making his sentence so substantial were the requirements of the Armed Career Criminal Act, which dictates that felons who have three previous convictions for violence or drug offenses must serve significant time behind bars.

"We have, frankly, a disturbing history including violence, including those offenses involving weapons," said Judge Jack Zouhary, who found that Randleman's criminal history subjected him to an armed career criminal enhancement. "The system has worked with you for a long time and things just never seem to get better."

A federal jury found Randlman, 56, guilty in July of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was arrested Sept. 5, 2009, in Lima, Ohio, by police responding to a burglary call. According to court records, he was carrying a pistol at the time.

He was convicted of felony possession of a firearm after a two-day trial. Monday, Judge Zouhary ruled that the requirements of the Armed Career Criminal Act applied.

Congress passed the act in 1984. Under the law, sentences for offenders who commit crimes with guns can be enhanced if the criminals have been convicted of three or more violent felonies or serious drug crimes.

When sentenced under the act, an offender's term is a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and can be as long as life.

"Mr. Randleman has had a lifelong history of violent crime," Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Weldon said during the sentencing hearing. "Mr. Randleman has been involved in violent crime since 1979."

Judge Zouhary noted that Randleman entered the criminal justice system at age 12 and had four charges filed against him in juvenile court.

Since becoming an adult and spanning a period of more than 30 years, Randleman was convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery, aggravated robbery, and felonious assault, as well as drunken driving and drug use, Judge Zouhary said.

The judge further noted that in total, Randleman had been ordered to several stints in prison and served about 10 years.

When asked whether he had anything to say, Randleman spoke for many minutes about what he claimed was an unjust conviction. In addition to attacking what he termed inconsistencies and lies of the officers involved in the case, he professed his innocence.

"I'm not saying I'm a choir boy, my record shows that I'm not a choir boy, but … I'm not guilty of this," he said.

Randleman's attorney, Bonnie Rankin, said the most serious of Randleman's crimes occurred when he was much younger.

Noting Randleman's age, she told the judge the prison sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act would in effect place her client behind bars the rest of his life.

In Ohio, a felon charged with possessing a gun faces up to five years in prison. Under federal law, a similar charge leads to 10 years in prison.

If found to be an armed career criminal, however, an offender convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition can be sent to prison for a minimum of 15 years and most often longer.

"With all due respect … the functional sentence of death is a tad aggressive for the underlying offense," Ms. Rankin said.

Randleman can appeal his conviction and sentence.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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