Friday, July 1, 2011

Judge declines to accept guilty plea

Elgee orders evaluation for defendant in felony drug case


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Jennifer M. Crowdson

Fifth District Judge Robert J. Elgee on Tuesday declined to accept a guilty plea from a 25-year-old Ketchum woman charged with a felony drug offense and ordered instead that a mental evaluation be conducted to determine if the defendant understands the ramifications of her plea.

Jennifer M. Crowdson has been in and out of court since her arrest in March while the legal system tries to determine a resolution of her case. She has been denied acceptance into Blaine County Drug Court, but prosecutors and defense attorneys agree that she needs drug rehabilitation rather than a prison sentence.

Crowdson is charged with felony delivery of a controlled substance for allegedly selling 39 pills of prescription amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, for $200 on March 17 to an undercover officer of the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team. She is also charged with the misdemeanor crime of possession of marijuana.

She was arrested that same day and has remained incarcerated since in the Blaine County jail on $25,000 bond. Crowdson is represented by the Roark Law Firm of Hailey under the firm's public defender contract with Blaine County.

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A plea agreement has been reached in the case wherein the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office will recommend that Crowdson be sentenced to a 90-day drug rehabilitation program administered by the Idaho Department of Correction. If she successfully completes the program, she would be placed on probation.

Crowdson was scheduled to enter her guilty plea on Tuesday, but Elgee continued the proceedings at the request of defense attorney Douglas Nelson, who asked that a determination be made to see if Crowdson is "mentally capable of pleading guilty."

A probable-cause affidavit filed in the case by Sun Valley police Cpl. Mike Abaid, a member of the Narcotics Enforcement Team, describes the drug Crowdson allegedly sold as a generic of the brand name Adderall.

Abaid wrote in the affidavit that the drug purchase was arranged after Crowdson allegedly advertised that she had the drug for sale by telephone text message. The affidavit does not identify whom Crowdson allegedly sent the message to, but states that the drug purchase was arranged by the Narcotics Enforcement Team.

Abaid wrote that Crowdson was charged with the misdemeanor because 11.2 grams of marijuana was found in her home in a search following her arrest.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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