Waynesburg woman sentenced for selling heroin

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WAYNESBURG – A Waynesburg woman who pleaded guilty to selling heroin from the AT&T Store at Greene Plaza in Franklin Township was sentenced Wednesday by Judge Farley Toothman to five years in the county intermediate punishment program.


Devon Garrett, 25, of 176 Huffman St., pleaded guilty Jan. 8 to possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance.


Garrett was arrested April 8, 2013, after she sold heroin to two women at the AT&T Store where she was employed.


In a 12-page sentencing order, Toothman cited his reasons for sentencing Garrett to the county intermediate punishment program rather than the state intermediate punishment program as requested by District Attorney Marjorie Fox.


He noted Garrett has two children and no previous criminal record. She made several attempts to address her addiction and completed three inpatient programs since 2011 and twice in 2014, Toothman wrote.


However, since being arrested Garrett violated provisions of her bail several times – once by failing to abide by a requirement regarding house arrest, once by testing positive for drugs and once by leaving an AA meeting.


Fox recommended Garrett be evaluated for the state intermediate punishment program, a 24-month program that would involve 7 months in prison followed by placement in an institutional therapeutic program and then outpatient treatment.


Garrett’s attorney, David Pollock, knowing his client’s rehabilitation needs, argued Garrett would be better served by county intermediate punishment, Toothman said. The county program includes local sanctions, addiction services and a much longer period of court supervision, he said.


Toothman said SIP would be an appropriate sentence.


“It serves both the purpose of criminal justice, and the goals of Ms. Garrett’s drug addiction and rehabilitation. Our comfort with SIP sentencing comes from its proven record, as reported to us in various ways. We don’t think the value of SIP should be in dispute,” he wrote.


“However, what the SIP sentencing regimen does not provide to the court, or our county officials, is the opportunity and experience for Greene County to work together on making perfect, our own criminal justice need for locally available services, which are practiced locally and grown locally,” Toothman said.


Drug addiction is the “number one” local concern to many families, he said, “and we have this challenge, to resolve locally.”


Toothman spoke of the difficulty faced by the court in sentencing Garrett. At least four hearings were held on the matter between March and Wednesday.


Fox is correct in her recommendation, Toothman said, though he described Garrett’s treatment under SIP as “out of sight, out of mind.” Pollock’s recommendation is also correct, Toothman said.


“And when the road is so divided,” he concluded, “the mistake is for the court to make.”


Toothman found Garrett ineligible for SIP based on the recommendation of her drug and alcohol assessment and her failure to agree to comply with conditions of the program. He also cited local services available to her, the proximity of her children and family and her recognition that violation of the sentence will result in resentencing.


Toothman sentenced Garrett to five years in the county program. As ordered, Garrett will remain incarcerated until placed in a three-to six-month drug therapeutic halfway house program. She has been in jail since May 27, the order said.


Upon release from the program, Garrett will be under the supervision of the county probation department and is required to attend 90 meetings of a 12-step recovery program, follow conditions recommended by her treatment program and undergo random drug and alcohol tests. She also was ordered to pay a $750 fine and perform 225 hours of community service.


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