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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fun-Paper - Man arrested for 153rd time

Paul Baldwin was arrested for the 153rd time Sunday, a week after he completed a one-year jail sentence for stealing a $1.99 can of beer.

Paul Baldwin

Arraigned June 1 by video from the Rockingham County House of Corrections, Baldwin, 49, with no fixed address, was charged with a class A misdemeanor count of simple assault alleging he hit someone in the face in Market Square. He told the court he didn’t want a lawyer and was prepared to plead guilty, but prosecutor Rena DiLando said her office has not had time to contact the alleged victim for input.

DiLando petitioned the court for $5,000 cash bail, noting that Baldwin’s criminal history is so lengthy she didn’t have time to read it all. She said he was also cited twice for violation-level offenses during his first week out of jail, once for a trespassing on the railroad tracks and another time for having an open container of beer.

Baldwin told Judge Sawako Gardner he went to the district court last week to apologize to her for a remark he made during an arraignment a year ago.

“I don’t need a lawyer,” he told the judge in May of 2008. “I’ve been in this court more than you have.”

Baldwin said Monday he shouldn’t have made the comment, adding, “I think I was intoxicated.”

“All I need is help with the drinking, your honor,” he said, while reporting that he attended AA meetings regularly during his year in the county jail.

The judge set bail at $1,500 cash and $2,000 personal recognizance and ordered him to have no contact with the alleged assault victim. If he is able to post bail, he is also court-ordered to observe a 7 p.m. curfew.

Baldwin also expressed his intent to plead guilty to the pair of violations, carrying a total of $450 in fines. He was scheduled to return to the court on June 16 to address all three matters.

Baldwin wore a surgical mask during his arraignment due to a respiratory illness which has not yet been diagnosed, according to a jail spokesman.

Last May he was described in the district court as “a leech on the resources of this community” after he was caught stealing a can of beer from the Islington Street Mobil On The Run. Former prosecutor Corey MacDonald said Baldwin is “a leech” and cited his criminal history as including eight trespass notices, 75 citations, four Social Security aliases and convictions for thefts, receiving stolen property, arson and criminal mischief.

“We deal with Paul Baldwin more than anyone else,” he said.

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