Defendant’s “apology” leads judge to unleash fiery speech

Crimes and Courts

A man who led police on a high-speed chase in Belmont County got quite a speech from the judge who imposed sentence.

James Putnam reportedly drove 97 miles per hour, cutting through the median strip of I-70, changing directions, then mowing down mailboxes on Route 40 while his passengers allegedly threw items out of the truck windows.

When Putnam apologized to Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato, saying he was sorry for the judge’s inconvenience, the judge unleashed a verbal torrent from the bench.

“I want you to understand it’s not a matter of inconvenience for me!” exclaimed Judge Fregiato. “You could have wiped out a whole group of kids! You understand that? This is just bull! I want you to understand that inconvenience doesn’t get near to touching the facts of this case!”

The judge asked Putnam if he understood, and Putnam said yes.

In the end, Judge Fregiato imposed the sentence that the prosecution recommended–20 months in prison and $5,000 in fines, court costs and restitution.

He also revoked Putnam’s driver’s license for three years.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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