LISBON - Rusty Ray Altman received a one-year prison sentence Thursday morning in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court, but has already indicated he plans to appeal his drug trafficking conviction by a jury earlier this month.
Altman, 40, Cream Ridge Road, Lisbon, was convicted of selling Buprenorphine, which is also known as Suboxone, a prescription drug designed to assist heroin addicts attempting to suppress their cravings. Drug users have learned to crush the Suboxone tablets and inject the powder or snort it in order to get high. It has a growing street value. Altman reportedly sold the drug to a confidential informant for $60 on Feb. 19, 2010 at his home.
Altman declined to comment prior to sentencing on Thursday by Judge Scott Washam. However, after sentencing he spoke up and explained he was unhappy with his current court-appointed attorney and plans to file an appeal. He will be granted another court-appointed attorney to appeal if he needs one. He also questioned how he could be sentenced to both a prison sentence and probation, to which Washam explained the probation department will determine the need for post-release control.
Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble had pointed out Altman has an extensive record, which includes felony charges. Washam noted Altman had been sentenced to probation before, but had to be incarcerated after failing to comply with the probation terms. He therefore denied Altman's request for only probation in this case.
On Aug. 14, a jury convicted Altman in less than 20 minutes of deliberations.
This is not Altman's first conviction for drug trafficking. In 1994 he was found guilty of trafficking in marijuana and served a one-year prison sentence. Additionally he has been convicted of misdemeanor theft charges at least three times since 2005 and was convicted in 2009 of fleeing from police.