VALPARAISO | East Chicago resident Ricardo Bustos is seeking to modify his 12-year prison term just one year after being sentenced for driving drunk and killing a highway worker.
A hearing set for Friday on the 24-year-old's request that Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa order the Indiana Department of Correction to conduct an evaluation of Bustos' conduct, work habits and participation in rehabilitative programs.
Bustos said in his motion he believes he is deserving of consideration for a reduction or suspension of his sentence. He said he completed a substance abuse program at the county jail and is on a waiting list for similar programs at the Westville Correctional Facility, where he is housed.
He argues his sentence is causing an undue hardship between him and his family and he is unlikely to commit another crime upon his release.
"Defendant wants to prove to the court and community that he can be a productive citizen if given a chance," he wrote.
A second motion, filed just less than two weeks later on his behalf by defense attorney Larry Rogers, asks the court to modify its original sentence and order Bustos into the therapeutic community at Westville.
Alexa recommended participation at the time of sentencing, but an order is needed for admission, Rogers said.
"Therapeutic Communities provide intensive substance abuse treatment and the core program is a minimum of eight (8) months in length," according to IDOC website. "The TC’s are competency based, and some offenders may take up to a year to complete the core program. Upon successful completion participants are eligible for up to a 6 month credit time cut."
Deputy Prosecutor Tammy Gregg responded in writing the motion seeking admission to the therapeutic community makes the original request for a reduced sentence moot.
Gregg said she does not object to Bustos being ordered into the intensive treatment program.
Bustos drove drunk and killed Roger Sadler, 49, of Michigan City, as he was working along Interstate 94 near Burns Harbor on April 30, 2010.
According to Indiana State Police, Sadler was filling cracks in a posted temporary construction zone when an eastbound car driven by Bustos made a U-turn inside the construction lanes and hit him.
Sadler was carried 35 feet before being thrown from the car. He suffered severe internal injuries and died two days later.
The earliest possible date Bustos can be released is April 28, 2016, according to the IDOC.