BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington man has opted to represent himself on the same felony drug charges filed against his two sons alleging possession of marijuana in the family's home.
Frank Sirtoff asked Judge Robert Freitag on Friday to allow him to serve as his own lawyer on the drug charges. Sirtoff cited a potential conflict of interest with the defense lawyer appointed to represent him, Philip Finegan, as the reason for the request.
Before approving Sirtoff's move to represent himself, Freitag asked the 57-year-old defendant a series of questions about his understanding of the legal process and his education. Sirtoff responded that he has attended college, achieving what he termed "professor status."
Charges allege Sirtoff and his sons Michael Sirtoff, 23, and Bruce Sirtoff, 31, possessed more than five but less than 20 marijuana plants and about 700 grams of the drug in their home in the 700 block of South Allin Street.
The three were arrested on New Year's Day and were released on $5,000 personal recognizance bonds.
Sirtoff's sons have kept their lawyers.
Bruce Sirtoff is due in court April 3 with lawyer Byron Schneringer and a Feb. 22 hearing is set for Michael Sirtoff, who is represented by John Schwulst.
According to a court filing in Michael Sirtoff's case, Bloomington police seized 16 marijuana plants located in a sump pump well in the basement during a search of the home. Officers also collected marijuana from other areas of the basement, including two Mason jars and a drying rack, according to court records.
Grow lights, heat lamps, drug paraphernalia and a book on how to grow marijuana also were found in the basement, said the search warrant records.
Police took possession of an extensive coin collection, said court records, that included U.S. Mint Philadelphia proof sets for every year between 1950 and 1998. The search warrant inventory covers more than 50 items from the coin collection and more than 16 items of paper money.
Michael Sirtoff's wallet with $123 inside was found on a dresser in the basement, along with 424.34 troy ounces of silver in a basement safe, according to the search log. The silver's market value is about $6,800.
During his court appearance, Frank Sirtoff told Freitag, "I do object to the charge."