The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

April 3, 2014

Judge, DA allow robber to try for treatment program

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

JACKSON TOWNSHIP — A Farrell man who admitted robbing a city bank will be evaluated for whether he can enter a state program for people with drug and alcohol problems.

Although Arthur C. “Corky” Pate, 45, is, on the surface, ineligible for the State Intermediate Punishment program due to the robbery conviction and past crimes, the Mercer County District Attorney’s Office has waived his ineligibility.

Pate pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to a charge of robbery for robbing First National Bank, 1030 Indiana Ave., on Aug. 1 of $1,500.

Intermediate Punishment is a two-year program of incarceration, treatment and counseling for low-level offenders with substance abuse problems.

“The courts in Mercer County look fondly in the SIP program,” said Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert G. Yeatts.

People who complete the program “do very well,” he said, meaning they tend not to commit further crimes.

“It’s one of the best programs there is,” Yeatts said.

If Pate is accepted into the program by the Department of Corrections – a formal sentencing to Intermediate Punishment would come later – it would not be a cake walk, Yeatts said.

“The program is a commitment by you that you want to get your life straightened out,” he said.

As a carrot to Pate doing all he can to be admitted to the program, Yeatts added, “You would be looking at a significant stretch in the state penitentiary otherwise.”

Pate pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 3è to 7 years.