James Fanning, arrested 4 times on meth-related charges, sentenced to probation

By Gary Scott on November 11, 2015 at 8:34am

A Franklin man arrested multiple times this year for being involved in methamphetamine operations will avoid any further jail time.

Forty-three-year-old James Fanning pleaded guilty yesterday to unlawful participation in meth manufacturing in Morgan County Court. He was sentenced to two years of probation, fined $4,700, and ordered to complete a residential treatment program. He was given credit for 201 days served in local jail.

The charge Fanning pleaded guilty to yesterday specifically stems from a meth-manufacturing arrest on April 23rd. Three other felony charges were dismissed.

Fanning was one of eight people arrested in connection with an alleged meth lab in northeast Jacksonville in March, and was then arrested on felony drug charges related to possession of meth and materials to make the drug two other times prior to the April arrest.

Fanning could have faced up to 15 years in prison.

Morgan County State’s Attorney Bobby Bonjean notes Fanning had no prior felony history, and very little criminal history at all.

“What really was more aggravating in Mr. Fanning’s case was the fact that he had a possession of meth, then was found in possession of meth manufacturing materials after he had been bonded out. So, what we did was got him for the most serious charge that he was facing, the Class 1 felony,” says Bonjean.

“There have been other people who I can think of since I’ve been state’s attorney with their first Class 1 felony and no criminal history who got a chance at probation. There’s a presumption with no prior felony history the state would have had to overcome that presumption in recommending prison,” he continues.

Bonjean believes part of Fanning’s problem was that whoever bonded him out after his initial arrest did him a disservice.

“Because he was never able to address the issues that were leading him, the addiction that was making him go out. We’ve only got one instance where he was cooking. Was he probably cooking other times? Yes, but I don’t have any facts or evidence to support that or charges to support that,” he says.

“But hopefully with the extended amount of time that he got in the county jail- he served more than the maximum amount just because of the time it took to get to a resolution- hopefully now with the treatment that he can get, he can kick the addiction. Obviously if he can’t kick the addiction, the state will be on top of the situation with the probation department to file a petition,” Bonjean adds.

Bonjean says Fanning was screened for drug court and determined not to be an eligible candidate.