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Termination of drug court placement over missed therapy affirmed

August 26, 2014

A woman who missed several drug court mental health therapy sessions failed on appeal to prove she was wrongly terminated from the problem-solving court.

Ann Withers was charged under separate causes with seven methamphetamine- and neglect-related counts, and she agreed to plead guilty to Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felony possession of two or more chemical reagents or precursors, and Class D felony neglect of a dependent. She was sentenced to an executed prison term of five-and-a-half years, which was stayed based on her successful completion of Madison County’s Drug Court program.

While Withers had failed no drug screens, her case manager testified she missed three mental health therapy sessions in December 2013, eight months into the program. The manager filed a termination request with electronic signatures of social workers issuing the reports, after which the judge granted the termination request and reinstated the sentence.

"(E)ven if the trial court had erred in judicially noticing the Attendance Reports, any error was harmless," Judge Terry Crone wrote for the panel in Ann Withers v. State of Indiana,  48A02-1403-CR-130. The case manager "testified that Withers missed several therapy sessions, and Withers testified that she had attendance issues. Thus, there was independent evidence of Withers’s violations of the Drug Court program.”

Likewise, there was no abuse of discretion in reinstatement of the sentence, because the sentencing order provided the stay on executing the sentence would be lifted if Withers failed to complete her drug court program.

“Pursuant to the plea agreement, upon termination of her participation, the trial court was required to lift the stay and reinstate her sentences," Crone wrote. "Therefore, we affirm."







 

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