WATERLOO, Iowa --- Despite having extra time to secure an attorney, Dennis Leahy showed up alone for his sentencing hearing Friday.

He told Judge Nathan Callahan his legal counsel, Lisa Pendroy, would not be available until Jan. 10.

"She told me that she couldn't show up today," he said.

Pendroy was appointed to represent Leahy in two other pending cases.

"You gave me 10 days," added Leahy, 64, of Cedar Falls. "I tried my best. I can't hire an attorney at my schedule. I have to hire at their schedule."

But Callahan said he had provided Leahy "more than ample opportunity."

The hearing had been postponed three times since a jury in August found Leahy guilty of third-degree fraud for organizing a bogus charity concert. Once was to allow time to complete a mental health evaluation, another was because Leahy did not attend.

Judge Callahan again called off the proceedings Dec. 17 when Leahy, who represented himself during the trial, asked for an attorney.

Callahan acknowledged a report indicating Leahy suffers from a mental health condition, though he refuses to accept treatment or take medication.

"I know you don't know what's going on," Callahan said. "I understand that. All I can tell you is the courts have made it quite clear that regardless of how poor a decision it may be on your part, when you choose to go without a lawyer, that is your choice, not mine."

Assistant Black Hawk County Attorney James Katcher said the absence of an attorney is evidence Leahy has a problem following rules. Leahy has adequate funds to pay for an attorney: He previously hired James Moriarty, according to Katcher.

However, Leahy later insisted Moriarty be excused because they reportedly weren't getting along.

Attempts to "deal with Mr. Leahy in the community have not proven effective," so Katcher requested prison time.

"(Leahy) was ordered to the residential facility as one of the methods of trying to ensure the protection of the community, as well as to deal with possible rehabilitation, but (Leahy) would not comply with the court's orders and rules of the department," Katcher said. "He brought contraband into the facility.

"He is a manipulator," Katcher added. "He does what he wants and disregards how those rules of society operate."

Katcher said Leahy distributed fliers and tickets for what was supposed to be a March 24 concert. But charities listed in the promotions hadn't agreed to participate, and officials at the National Cattle Congress' McElroy Auditorium said they refunded Leahy's deposit and refused to rent to him after they became suspicious.

Leahy was convicted of similar charges in connection with a 2003 charity basketball game.

"It's particularly troubling at this time of year around Christmas when charities are very dependent upon the giving nature of the community," Katcher said. "It's the attitude that he is fostering that makes people less likely to trust charities. The community becomes leery of giving money or going to charitable causes."

Callahan imposed a suspended sentence of 365 days in jail, two years of probation and a $2,225 fine plus a 35 percent surcharge. He also is responsible for court costs.

"Here's the part that's going to sting," Callahan said. "You will not be allowed to do community service. I want that money out of your pocket, so you start to feel a little bit of what you're doing to other people. If that doesn't deter you, then we'll look at the 365 days in jail."

Leahy has 30 days to appeal the conviction and sentence.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.