A Winchester woman whose case began in 2013 has been ordered to STAR despite requests for other types of treatment programs.
Emily N. Smith, aka Nikki Smith Howell, Winchester, was sentenced to community control and the STAR program for fourth-degree felony receiving stolen property.
Smith initially pled guilty to the charge and was admitted into the prosecutor’s diversion program in December 2013. Last month she admitted to violating her supervision and was set for sentencing last week. But, as she had failed to report to the probation department multiple times for her presentence investigation interview and had failed to be evaluated for treatment as she was court-ordered to do, Judge Rocky Coss revoked her bond and ordered her to be held in jail until Thursday’s sentencing.
While at the jail the probation department was able to interview Smith and complete a presentence investigation, and she was evaluated for treatment.
Smith had previously had positive drug screens, showing methamphetamine and amphetamine, but those could be explained by her prescription medications, said defense attorney Allyce Horne. She said the doctor said one of the prescriptions could test like methamphetamine. Horne said it was an issue that “has come up before.”
But the judge wanted to know what was causing Smith to test positive for opiates. Horne produced a printout of Smith’s prescriptions.
She’s been prescribed Vicodin since earlier this year for severe carpal tunnel in both hands, Smith said. She had surgery on one hand recently.
But as Coss went over the list and how many pills she had been prescribed, and also compared his own experiences with carpal tunnel and the resulting surgeries, all without the need for pain pills, he said, he concluded that he didn’t believe her.
The judge also noted the presentence report showed a history of heroin use, and a previous treatment program that Smith failed to complete.
He ordered her to go to STAR despite an earlier request from the defense for the possibility of mental health counseling, as Horne said she believed that Smith didn’t have drug abuse issues, but mental health issues. Horne later asked the court to consider allowing Smith to engage in an outpatient, intensive treatment program instead of the residential STAR program.
But Coss said that wasn’t happening. “STAR provides attitude adjustment training,” he said.
He released Smith from custody, he said, so the county wouldn’t have to pay to house her further at the jail. Coss said if she violates her supervision, she will be held in jail until she goes to treatment, which is set to begin in early January.
In another hearing, a Greenfield man previously on community control on another case has been sentenced to prison following his admission of guilt in Highland County Common Pleas Court to a new felony.
Kevin R. Haithcock, 34, pled guilty to fourth-degree felony trafficking in heroin in the vicinity of a juvenile. An identical charge and two heroin possession charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison – 11 months on the newer felony and seven months on the older case.
Haithcock was convicted by a guilty plea in January 2013 of fifth-degree felony possession of criminal tools. The next month he was sentenced to three years community control and ordered to complete the STAR program.
Community control was extended later in 2013 after he was arrested on a warrant issued when his whereabouts became unknown. According to court records, another such warrant was issued about a year ago. Records show Haithcock was arrested on Oct. 13, 2015, the day he was indicted in the new case.
Also this week, Roger Yoakum, 42, Greenfield, pled guilty to three counts of fifth-degree felony heroin trafficking. According to the plea agreement, another trafficking charge and four heroin possession charges were dismissed. Also, the state will not oppose community control and treatment when Yoakum is sentenced next month.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.