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Man who avoided jail time with unusual sentence is back behind bars

Updated: Friday, February 8 2013, 10:42 PM EST
Man who avoided jail time with unusual sentence is back behind bars story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A Kalamazoo man whose emotional promise to be a better role model for his son got him off the hook for stealing back in 2008 is back behind bars.

In 2008 Daniel Cleland was trying to get back on the right track after being accused of stealing from a store. He told the court that he would change his ways because his six-year-old son told him, “Daddy, stop stealing.”

The judge who heard that statement let Cleland go on the condition that he write those very words on his arm for the next seven months. Now, it appears that the unusual punishment didn’t serve its intended purpose.

In 2008 Daniel Cleland told the court that he planned to turn his life around, he had two jobs and was going through drug rehab, but the now unemployed 31 year old may not get the same chance this time.

“He said ‘Dad, everything would be alright if you’d just stop stealing,’” said Cleland back in 2008. “I said, ‘I’m working on that buddy, sorry I made a mistake.’ He said once again, ‘No dad, you have to stop stealing, that’s it, just stop stealing.’”

Cleland’s words were convincing enough for the assistant prosecutor to decide that the 27-year-old man with a list of felonies might deserve another chance.

Cleland was excused from any possible jail time and instead ordered to wear the words of his six-year-old son for the next seven months.

“You gotta help yourself,” said Judge Pamela Lightvoet in 2008. “If you want to, you have to do it.”

Cleland was more than four months off of his probation when Portage Police say he stole something from the Meijer shopping center on Shaver Road. He was taken into custody at his mother’s house on Sunday, while his children were with him.

Cleland, who was given a chance to change in 2008, appeared in court to face new charges on Monday. He was given $5,000 bond, which he has not been able to post.

Cleland has not appeared in front of the same judge, so far. Newschannel 3 attempted to speak to Cleland in jail on Friday to get his side of the story, but he refused to speak to us.
Man who avoided jail time with unusual sentence is back behind bars
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