A London woman who passed bad checks in 2013 and then escaped custody has been given a final chance for recovery from opiate addiction.
Amanda Jones, 36, of London, was sentenced to community control, despite the pre-sentencing investigation recommending against it as well as intervention in lieu of conviction due to previous unsuccessful attempts. They had recommended a penitentiary sentence.
Her attorney, Seth Schertzinger argued against the probation department’s recommendation.
“She has spent the majority of her adult life as a very productive citizen,” he said. “At one time she was working as a manager…but she’s had some pretty serious health issues…unfortunately most of these cases where due to her prescription pills.”
He added she suffered from mental health issues, which Jones said was PTSD. The attorney said the danger of the pills and her own struggles caused a downward spiral.
“Granted she has had multiple unsuccessful terminations from probation,” he said. “I think what’s absent is, she’s never been provided the opportunity for in-patient rehab…I think that would be most beneficial for her.”
Assistant county prosecutor Nicholas Adkins argued for the conclusion made by the probation department, stating that there were multiple red flags making community control a bad option.
“She has a history of failure to appear and interventions being completed unsuccessfully,” he said.
He highlighted her escape, which he mentioned she may have been in trouble with law enforcement elsewhere as well.
“It seems pretty clear to me she took advantage of that situation and using that opportunity to escape,” he said. “Speaking with personnel she used a hallway to a back door which was only used by hospital workers.”
Jones spoke before the court, mentioning her parents were in attendance.
She said that her life had spiraled out of control due to her prescription to Oxycodone from a surgery.
“I was a productive member for society,” she said.
She said she needed help and that a community control program could be beneficial.
“I’ve never tested dirty at probation, not once,” she said.
Judge Eamon Costello said the evidence had showed the contrary, echoing the list of failures and pattern of criminality.
He mentioned that she had been a law abiding citizen for a long time but her period of criminality added with her intelligence made her more difficult to sentence.
“You’re a bit more of a challenge than the regular defendant because you’re smart,” he said. “And unfortunately you can use some of that smarter background to do what a lot of people who are addicts do, lie and steal. Because you have a lot more going upstairs that makes you super dangerous.”
He was concerned she was just trying to game the system.
“I have to use a sort of crystal ball to figure out, are you BSing me or have you arrived at the station where you’ved turned the corner,” he said. “In the last four years you’ve kinda mastered BSing. That is the boat you’ve put yourself in by your actions.”
Jones pleaded to Costello to be lenient, mentioning her children.
“There’s a party of children of addicts who have been raised by grandparents,” he said.
In sentencing her, he said this would firmly be her last chance.
“There’s half a dozen reasons not to do this,” he said.
She was charged in two cases, one from 2013 where she was charged with two counts of passing bad checks, both fifth degree felonies and a 2017 case with two charges of escape from custody, one a third degree felony and the other a fifth degree.
The indictment said that she passed two bad checks in early and mid-January 2013. Costello said they were for a deposit to her landlord, totaling $1,400.
She was apprehended and taken to Tri-County Regional jail, but was released due to medical reasons. She then failed to appear in court in Jan. 14, 2014 for her arraignment.
Four years later in 2017, she was arrested in London after an officer noticed warrants for her arrest in Madison County Municipal Court.
She asked to be taken to the hospital and taken to an emergency room, where she then left without notifying authorities.
She took a plea agreement to have two of her four charges dropped.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, or on Twitter @msfkwiat.