On Tuesday, Michael Allen Sorrels, 28, Brazil, with attorney Geoffrey Creason, appeared before Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout for a sentencing hearing.
On Jan. 24, Trout rejected the terms of a previous negotiated plea agreement between the Clay County Prosecutor's Office and Sorrels because the penalties were not "sufficient sanctions for the alleged crime committed."
However, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kim Jackson and Sorrels' attorney informed the judge of a mutual agreement to modify the terms of the previous negotiated plea agreement to include an additional 20 hours of community service for each count, if the terms of the new agreement were accepted by the court.
Sorrels faced allegations in two separate cases.
Involved in the unauthorized release of 16 dogs from the shelter May 11, 2010, Sorrels was arrested and formally charged with class D felony charges of obstruction of justice, official misconduct, theft and two class A misdemeanor charges of false informing and deception for the incident.
On Aug. 20, 2010, Sorrels was also charged with class D felony theft after a separate investigation into the misappropriation of $300 in payroll funds, missing items at the shelter and allegations he accepted payment on at least one occasion to falsify paperwork for a court-ordered community service program through Clay Community Corrections.
Trout accepted the terms of the new plea agreement after Sorrels confirmed he was aware of the changes.
Sorrels waived his constitutional rights, presented a voluntary factual statement of his guilt and agreed to plead guilty to the first three charges in the May 2010 case, while the state agreed to drop the remaining misdemeanor charges in the matter.
As per terms in the first case, Trout ordered Sorrels to serve concurrent sentences of one-and-a-half years incarceration at the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) for each of the counts, with all of it suspended with the exception of 30 days to be actually served. Sorrels was allowed credit for eight actual days previously served, and ordered to be placed on formal probation for 17 months after completion of his sentence.
On July 9, Sorrels is scheduled to turn himself in at the Clay County Justice Center to begin serving the sentence on weekends until fully executed. Upon completion, Sorrels will report to Community Correction to be placed on formal probation and make arrangements for community service.
When Trout asked if Sorrels understood the terms and penalties involved with the plea agreement, he confirmed he did.
Sorrels then waived his constitutional rights in the August 2010 case, presented a voluntary factual statement of his guilt and agreed to plead guilty to the class D felony.
Per terms of the agreement in the second case, Trout ordered Sorrels to serve a consecutive sentence of one-and-a-half years incarceration at the IDOC, with all of it suspended with the exception of 30 days to be actually served.
Trout explained the difference between a concurrent and consecutive sentence would mean it would be served "on top of" the first set of sentences in the previous case, making the total time to be served at IDOC three years. Sorrels confirmed he understood the difference before court proceedings were allowed to continue.
Sorrels was allowed credit for five days previously served, and informed he would report to the CCJC to serve his sentence on the weekends after the successful completion of the sentence in the first case. He will be placed on informal probation upon release, and will be responsible for another 20 hours of community service at that time.
Sorrels also agreed to make restitution to the Clay County Human Society.
Local attorney and CCHS board member Charles Hear spoke on behalf of the board, citing the terms of the $2,400 in total restitution were "appropriate in the case and in the best interest of CCHS."
Payments were arranged for Sorrels to pay (minus the $1,400 he was prepared to pay Tuesday) monthly installments of $200, beginning in August.
Ordered to pay court costs/fees, including reimbursing the Public Defenders Fund of $100 per case, and fines, Sorrels was told by Trout his bonds in both cases ($700 and $400 respectively) would be applied to any outstanding fees before being returned to him.
Before being released on his own recognizance, Sorrels was informed a failure to report would result in the filing of a separate criminal felony case. The court also provided him with copies of the No Contact Order entered on behalf of the board members, employees and staff of the Clay County Humane Society.
Sorrels, who was accompanied to court by family members, was unavailable for comment after the court proceedings.