“Get Out Of Jail Free” Card Doesn’t Help Convict Avoid 12 Year Sentence
By Mike Perleberg
(Brookville, Ind.) – Attempting to play a “get out of jail free” card in court did not help a Sunman man avoid a sentence of eight years in prison and four years on probation.
Robin Schnuck, 59, of Sunman, was sentenced in Franklin County Circuit Court by Judge Steven Cox on August 2. He had faced a maximum of 12 years behind bars after pleading guilty in May to Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon (level 4 felony), Possession of Methamphetamine (level 6 felony), Possession of a Syringe (level 6 felony), and Resisting Law Enforcement (class A misdemeanor).
At a plea hearing held in June, prosecutors say Schnuck was being questioned by Cox about whether he understood the ramifications of his guilty plea. He pulled from his pocket a “get out of jail free” card from a Monopoly board game and asked if it would change the course of the proceedings.
Franklin County chief deputy prosecuting attorney Chris Huerkamp called the ploy amusing. However, it was ineffective.
“Judge Cox was quick to point out to Schnuck that, unfortunately for him, the Get out of Jail Free card would not be carrying any weight in his courtroom. From there, the plea hearing proceeded without further interruption, with Schnuck admitting his guilt to all four charges,” said Huerkamp.
Robin Schnuck. Photo by Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.
Schnuck’s case began with his arrest during a September 30, 2016 traffic stop on State Road 46 in Batesville. A Batesville Police officer stopped a pickup truck driven by Schnuck for making an improper turn. Schnuck told the officer in a “not-so-friendly manner” that he knew who he was and knew where he lived, followed by an accurate address of the officer’s home.
A police K9 indicated the presence of drugs in Schnuck’s vehicle. When asked to exit his vehicle, Schnuck resisted and started to reach for his waistband. An officer was able to grab Schnuck’s arms and pin him against the side of his truck. As the officer was attempting to place Schnuck in handcuffs, a fully-loaded .22-caliber revolver fell from Schnuck’s waistband and out his pants leg.
During a pat-down search of Schnuck, five pocket knives were located in his pocket. A search of the truck led to the discovery of multiple syringes, drug paraphernalia items, and methamphetamine.
“A review of Schnuck’s criminal history revealed a lengthy record going back to the 1970s, including several felony convictions and prison sentences in various Ohio jurisdictions for offenses including theft, illegal weapons possession, and trafficking marijuana,” Huerkamp said.
The chief deputy prosecutor also praised the officers involved in Schnuck’s arrest and conviction for their professionalism.
“This case is a clear example of the potential dangers that police officers must consider in even routine encounters. In this case, what had appeared to be a relatively minor traffic stop quickly evolved into a very dangerous situation for all those involved. These officers should be commended not only for their vigilance, but also for the restraint and good judgment they demonstrated when events could have very easily spiraled out of control,” Huerkamp concluded.
A female passenger who was riding with Schnuck was also arrested. The case against Amy Wright, 30, of Sunman, is still pending in court. She is charged with Possession of Methamphetamine (level 6 felony) and Possession of a Syringe (level 6 felony).