Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Marijuana dealer gets ‘rider program’

Shields incarcerated for selling pot to ISP informant


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Frank Vincent Shields

A 30-year-old Hailey man was sentenced Monday to up to a year in the Idaho Department of Correction "rider program" for selling a quarter-pound of marijuana last year to an Idaho State Police confidential informant.

Fifth District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee advised defendant Frank Vincent Shields that he might be released from custody in as few as 90 days but that the determination is up to the Department of Correction. Under the rider program, convicted felons are offered a chance at rehabilitation at the North Idaho Correctional Institution in Cottonwood.

Shields was also given an eight-year suspended prison sentence. Elgee said Shields will be on probation for up to five years after he's released from custody.

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Shields was originally charged with three counts of delivery of marijuana for allegedly selling quarter-pound lots of marijuana to the confidential informant in April, May and June. In accord with a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Shields pleaded guilty in January to a single count of delivery of marijuana in exchange for dismissal of the other two charges.

Hailey attorney Christopher Simms, who was appointed public defender, asked that Shields be sentenced to jail instead of the rider program so he could be close to his family. However, Elgee said Shields has two prior felony marijuana convictions in Oregon and that the rider program was the appropriate sentence.

"It's the priors, is really what hurts you," Elgee said. "I don't care how you look at it, it's not good. You came back to Idaho and you went back to the well one too many times."

A 28-year-old Sun Valley woman has also been charged with felony delivery of marijuana for allegedly bringing the marijuana to the sale that Shields made to the confidential informant in June. A jury trial is set for March 29 for Cynthia Hamilton Wilson, who has pleaded not guilty and is currently free on $5,000 bond.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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