James Banks of Pekin told a judge this week he’s “not a monster. I’m just a drug addict who makes dumb decisions.”
They’ve put Banks, 38, in jail or prison for almost his entire adult life. He was ordered Wednesday to begin another six-year term — not for possessing a small amount of cocaine but for violating virtually every requirement of the probation term he received for that crime last October.
“Mr. Banks is incapable of not violating the law,” his prosecutor said, and flatly told his probation officer he considered the rules he must follow to remain free “b---s---.”
He’s been imprisoned five times for violating probation terms, including requirements to remain drug-free, according to court records.
The pattern repeated itself because, “You flagrantly thumbed your nose” at court-related efforts to help fight his addiction, Tazewell County Circuit Judge Stephen Kouri told Banks.
“He should get some credit for being honest,” defense attorney Matthew Hoppock said in his request for a shorter prison term at Banks’ sentence hearing Wednesday.
Banks has been convicted of nine felonies, with a 10th case pending. None have involved violent crimes, but several, including stolen vehicle possession, were not drug-related, said his prosecutor.
Drugs, however, have crippled Banks’ life and taken those of his loved ones, he told the judge.
A woman he called his girlfriend, Tamara Goss, 29, of Pekin, died from a drug overdose last week. Banks said his mother suffered the same fate.
Drugs “have ruined my life,” Banks said. “But I’m not giving up.”
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin