Second Millage sentenced to probation

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter

Matthew S. Millage, 33, of Keithsburg, was sentenced to 48 months felony probation in Mercer County Court on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008. At the sentencing hearing he was facing up to four years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in a plea agreement with the state, for pleading guilty to an amended charge of attempt to obtain methamphetamine precursors amounting less than 10 grams, a Class 2 felony.

In exchange for the guilty plea, three other counts were dismissed including methamphetamine manufacture, less than 400 grams, a Class X felony, methamphetamine manufacture, from 15 to 100 grams, a Class X felony, and a misdemeanor count of attempt procurement of meth manufacturing materials, a Class B misdemeanor.

A presentence investigation and report were entered into evidence during the hearing, which both the state and defense relied upon during sentencing arguments.

State's Attorney Gregory McHugh asked to hear from the defendant (his allocution), prior to making his arguments.

Millage took full responsibility for the crime and said. "What I done was definitely wrong. If it had been other circumstances, I would not have done it. My participation was my fault," he said.

McHugh then spoke to the court saying, "Meth is a curse. We treat the cookers worse than the gatherers," he said.

He added that Millage cooperated during the investigation and that Millage had a prior drug felony, as well as some minor prior felonies. "We believe there must be a more severe penalty," he said, and recommended 40 months in the DOC. He added that if the court decided to offer probation, rather than prison, that the $10,000 used to bond out during the trial be used for fines. He also recommended that Millage be ordered to enter a substance abuse program.

Attorney Chris Kutsunis, argued that the criminal history is small and the felonies are 13 years old. "He was not the main defendant," said the attorney for the defense. "He had a very, very small part of the whole thing. He was cooperative from the get go." He argued that when his client entered the plea ageement he also agreed to testify against his father. "He was the first to enter into a plea agreement."

Kutsunis suggested that his client was worthy of probation. He said that if the court decided to incarcerate, his client wanted to be involved in the Impact Incarceration Program.

Judge James G. Conway noted that Millage had three children, and one step-child and was married, that he had served four years in the Iowa National Guard as a recruiter. He said the court considers the presentence report, the fact that incarceration of one individual costs the state $22,627 a year, based on 2003 figures, the aggravating and mitigating factors and the sentencing alternatives.

"He did make an allocution statement on his own behalf," said Judge Conway. He called his decision "a close case, with mitigation just outweighing aggravation."

Besides the 48 months probation, the judge ordered Millage to obtain a substance abuse evaluation at his own costs within 60 days and have it filed in the court under seal.

He said he believed that a result of circumstances, and the character and attitude of the defendant it was unlikely that he will commit a crime. He said that imprisonment would be a burden to five dependants, and that none of the bail money was to be refunded. He ordered that Millage receive an additional 179 days in Mercer County Jail, will all but 60 days stayed. Millage will receive credit of 22 days served (11 actual), and the remaining 38 days will be spent in periodic imprisonment over 19 weekends in the local jail.

Millage is to surrender for his first 48 hours at 7 p.m on Dec. 7, and return each weekend thereafter until his time has been served.