Brooks sentenced, jailed (Sept., 11, 2008)

Sept. 11, 2008
By Tim Simard
Observer staff

Williston resident and former Champlain Valley Union High School basketball star Benjamin Brooks, 18, was sentenced Friday to nine to 42 months in prison on multiple drug and alcohol charges.

Brooks pleaded guilty to two counts of cocaine possession, receiving consecutive sentences of nine to 12 months for one count and up to 12 months for the other count.

Brooks also pleaded guilty to one count of driving under the influence, for which he received a consecutive sentence of up to 18 months.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan said Brooks would get credit for time he has already served. Brooks served 12 days in June and July before his parents posted $25,000 bail, according to court documents.

As part of a plea agreement, Brooks was assigned to a St. Johns- bury prison work camp. Donovan said it’s not your typical prison and allows inmates to learn certain trade skills.

Brooks was charged in June with three counts of sale of cocaine and one count of felony possession of cocaine. He was also charged with driving under the influence and alcohol consumption by a minor after he drove, while intoxicated, to meet with South Burlington Police officers about the possibility of becoming a drug informant, according to Donovan. Some of the charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

Donovan said he was pleased with the outcome of the case.

“We think it’s a sentence that punishes (Brooks) and protects the public,” said Donovan, who also prosecuted Brooks’ first drug charge in December 2007.

Last year, while a senior at CVU, Brooks was arrested after police discovered cocaine, marijuana, scales, seeds and other drug paraphernalia at his home. He pleaded guilty in December to one charge of marijuana possession in a plea agreement and was able to continue playing basketball for the high school. If Brooks had stayed out of trouble for nine months, the December conviction would have been wiped from his record.

Instead, Brooks violated his probation agreement with his June arrest.

Donovan, who expressed to the court in June his “disappointment” with Brooks after his second arrest, said the sentence should give the teen enough time to think about his actions.

“It’s up to Mr. Brooks to become a good and law-abiding citizen after this,” Donovan said.