Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Rip Torn denied probation by judge

Rip Torn has been refused a probation programme

Rip Torn has been denied a special probation programme which would have cleared his record of charges that he broke into a bank while drunk and armed in January.

The 79-year-old Emmy-winning actor was denied accelerated rehabilitation in Litchfield Superior Court, Connecticut, on Wednesday.

Judge James Ginocchio said the charges are too serious, especially given Torn's past problems with alcohol.

One of the gun charges carries a mandatory minimum one-year prison sentence. The case now continues toward a trial.

Torn is charged with breaking into a bank near his Salisbury home on the night of Janurary 29. Police say he was carrying a loaded gun and was so intoxicated that he thought it was his house.

"There's some indication here that even when supervised, alcohol is still a problem," Litchfield State's attorney David Shepack said as Torn, who did not speak, sat quietly with his attorney in the mostly empty courtroom - a stark contrast to the media frenzy at his arraignment after the January incident.

The media attention is one of the factors that will motivate Torn to remain sober and continue following the court's orders, his attorney, A Thomas Waterfall, said in requesting the accelerated rehabilitation program.

"This is embarrassing. Mr Torn likes to be known for the Men In Blac movies and the good positive things he's done in his life, not this. So I think that in and of itself is a deterrent," Waterfall said.

Waterfall also asked for a court-ordered evaluation of Torn's alcohol dependency issues. Depending on the results, Torn could be ordered to undergo up to two years of state-monitored treatment and the charges could be dropped.

He returns to court on September 15, though the evaluation is not expected to be done by then.

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