Driver ‘unwilling to abide by court orders’ gets 2 years in jail

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PITTSFIELD — A city man convicted by a jury for driving with a license suspended for drunken-driving offenses was sentenced Thursday to two years in jail.

The same jury on Tuesday acquitted Carlton W. Moore III, 48, of a fifth offense of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol from the same Oct. 21, 2017, traffic stop.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Jeffrey Clarke recommended the maximum sentence of 2 1/2 years in jail.

Moore’s attorney, Nathaniel Green, countered with a suggestion of sentencing his client to the 250 days of time served in custody awaiting trial.

In explaining his recommendation, Clarke noted that Moore has a conviction of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and operating a motor vehicle with a license suspended for OUI, from an October 2015 traffic stop that resulted in a sentence of up to 18 months.

Almost two years after that stop, Moore, who was out of jail, was stopped and charged again for the OUI and operating after suspension charges for which he went to trial this year.

Clarke said the state’s concern is that Moore will continue to drive and put the public at risk in defiance of court restrictions.

“(Moore) seems unwilling to abide by court orders,” Clarke said, adding that the fact his license is suspended for life has not stopped him from getting behind the wheel.

Green used the fact his client is a level two registered sex offender to demonstrate he can adhere to court orders. Green noted that Moore has been in compliance and has kept his registration current.

During the 250 days Moore has been in custody, Green said, he has availed himself of counseling, including the state’s Substance Abuse Treatment Opportunity (STOP) program.

“(Moore) has not been idle while he’s been at the House of Corrections,” Green said.

“He has people who believe in him,” Green said.

Green said the state’s sentencing guidelines on the operating after suspension charge call for a sentence of up to nine months, putting his 250-day recommendation toward the higher end of that range.

But Berkshire Superior Court Judge John Agostini imposed the two-year sentence amid concerns that Moore’s apparent alcohol problem, combined with a pattern of poor judgment, present a danger to the public.

Agostini went on to note that Moore likely will be released after about a year, which will leave another year in jail hanging over his head while on probation. The judge said that might act as a deterrent against violating his release conditions, driving or committing a new offense.

“I think he needs that and I think the community needs that,” Agostini said.

Green filed a motion for a hearing to have Moore’s sentence stayed, while he considers filing an appeal.

Moore will be held without bail pending that hearing, expected this month.

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