A man who was given a probationary sentence for his fifth felony conviction in June, with a stern warning from Flathead District Judge Amy Eddy to not return to court, was found in violation of the probationary sentence on Dec. 15. But at his sentencing hearing on Thursday, Eddy gave the man another chance in the community, with two new sentences, both suspended.
Eddy again was firm in her handling during the last week with Deven Michael Broad, 23, before ultimately allowing him to continue working and providing for his family, which includes a 3-month-old son, who defense attorney Julianne Hinchey held during testimony on Thursday. Eddy handed down a suspended sentence to the Department of Corrections until he is 25 for violating his probation, and five years suspended in Montana State Prison for burglary. She also reimposed all the conditions from his earlier suspended sentence.
“I’m going to give you a chance to remain in the community,” Eddy said before handing down the sentence. “There’s nothing else that can happen to you after becoming a parent that will make you aware of your reality.”
Hinchey after sentencing said she believed Broad’s age, family and current employment made the difference in Eddy’s ruling.
“There’s no better rehabilitation than a job,” she said. “Why have that cost put on the taxpayer when he has a $16-an-hour job and a boss who’s willing to vouch for him.”
She said had Broad been sent to the Department of Corrections, he would have come back less equipped to be a constructive member of society once he returned.
Eddy last week denied the request for a bond reduction hearing, after hearing about how he lasted less than three months on a five-year suspended sentence to Montana State Prison before he was back into trouble with the law. The sentence was imposed for a felony burglary conviction that resulted after Broad and four others burglarized Creston Business Center, a Kalispell auto repair business and a home on Egan Slough on Oct. 26, 2015.
At the time of the burglary Broad was serving a probationary sentence imposed when he was a minor for sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl in 2011.
In the revocation hearing, Broad admitted that on Aug. 20 he was cited for driving with a suspended license and obstructing justice. In September, Broad was found to be under the influence of alcohol and in possession of drug paraphernalia in Columbia Falls.
“You did have a .2 (blood-alcohol concentration) passed out behind the wheel of a car outside of Columbia Falls Elementary School,” Eddy pointed out. The legal limit of blood-alcohol concentration in which an individual can still drive is .08.
Broad told Eddy that the event was a turning point in his life.
“Ever since the mess up in September, that was a huge wake-up call for me,” Broad told the judge. “I still feel like crap about it. I let my wife down. I let my son down.”
It was similar to a plea to the judge that was made in June.
“I’m coming farther than I have before,” Broad said at the June sentencing.
At that time, Eddy did not follow a recommendation to send Broad to boot camp, after he made a plea about wanting to witness the birth of his child.
“I want to be here for the birth of my baby,” Broad said at the time. “It’s my first kid and I don’t want to miss it.”
During deposition on Thursday, Broad’s wife said without him working, she feared she and their son would become homeless, unable to pay for their recently acquired home.
Broad’s probation officer, Brock O’Hare, said during disposition that Broad was “spotty at best” while he was under O’Hare’s supervision, with close to 10 violations of his probation.
“You have been involved in this system for a number of years... There is no question as far as your expectations go,” Eddy said last week of Broad’s recent failures to comply with terms of probation.
“Becoming a dad has been a huge turn around for me,” Broad said, through tears, before his sentencing. “It’s helped me respect being in the community. Everything that I do day in and day out is for my son, my wife and for my family to make sure that they’re supported, that they’re going to be OK, not just myself.”