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Termination of drug court placement over missed therapy affirmed

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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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  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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