ITHACA, N.Y. — A Tompkins County judge sentenced a Dryden man who was found with $21K, cocaine, crack, heroin and packaging material to prison Friday afternoon.

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Rufus Lomax, 39, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for five years in prison with the chance to be considered for shock incarceration and three years of post-release supervision.

Shock incarceration is a six-month military-style rehabilitation program that permits inmates who successfully complete it to serve any remaining jail sentence on parole. He can apply for the program from jail in about two years.

Lomax’s deal means he will not face three other felony drug charges or six uncharged counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance.

In court, Lomax’s lawyer Joseph Joch said he was not aware when the plea deal was signed that Lomax  might not be eligible for shock incarceration because of previous drug related felony convictions.

Judge Joseph Cassidy said whenever he recommends shock incarceration for an inmate, the Department of Corrections always has the discretion to determine that an inmate is not eligible for the program.

“It’s not guaranteed,” Cassidy said. “It’s possible he may not be eligible for shock.”

Despite taking time to discuss other options, such as taking the case to trial or renegotiating a plea deal, Lomax decided to accept the original deal.

Lomax said in court, “I just want to say this (prison and drug use) has been a revolving door for me since I was a kid and I’m just trying to seek a little bit of help.”

In the back of the courtroom a woman holding Lomax’s 3-year-old son cried as his sentence was read.

“Hopefully I get shock…so I am able to get back to my kids and be a father to my kids,” he said.

As Lomax prepared to leave the courtroom, his son shouted, “Bye dad! I miss you!” and rushed to give him a kiss, which corrections officers allowed.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.