1/31/2013 7:30:00 AM Additional jail time ordered in bath salts, child neglect case Kyle Rogers Reporter/Photographer
A judge decided against probation and sentenced Patrick Dalka to 60 days in jail Tuesday, noting that a juvenile court order in place controlling Dalka's contact with his son is providing adequate supervision for his crimes.
Nearly a year ago, Dalka, 35, was charged with drug offenses related to the use of "bath salts" as well as neglecting a child. He was charged after his wife asked authorities to search her vehicle for explosives.
According to the complaint, Dalka's wife told authorities her husband told her he put two quarter sticks of dynamite in her car. She also told officers her husband had been "hallucinating in the middle of the night for no explainable reason" and had advised her he is the "middle man" for drug dealing.
The child neglect charge stemmed from an allegation Dalka took his pajama-clad infant son outside in subzero temperatures while high on "bath salts."
As part of a plea deal Tuesday, Dalka pleaded no contest to an amended count of abuse of a hazardous substance. The child neglect charge and a second drug charge were dismissed.
The state asked for one year of probation and no additional jail time beyond the 50 days Dalka has already served.
"Whether what he was ingesting was legal or not legal, it affected a young child," Oneida County District Attorney Mike Schiek said. "He needs supervision so he can get this abuse under control."
Dalka's attorney, Mary Hogan, asked that no probation be ordered. Instead she requested the court sentence Dalka to an additional 17 days of jail beyond what he has already served along with a fine to cover the costs associated with Dalka's case being on the court docket for nearly a year.
"I think probation would be a waste of resources," Hogan said, noting that in recent months Dalka has been taking it upon himself to work on his mental health and substance abuse issues. She said he has already completed treatment at Koinonia.
Judge Patrick O'Melia agreed with the defense. He ordered 60 days in jail with the 50 days of credit applied and a $500 fine. O'Melia said in this situation the supervision provided by Oneida County Social Services under the juvenile court order will be even more strict than what probation would provide.
"He has the (juvenile court) order over his head, so it accomplishes what we're trying to do," O'Melia said.
Kyle Rogers may be reached at email@example.com.
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