Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pill saleswoman gets chance at rehab

Attorney questions why case was pursued by police


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Jennifer M. Crowdson

A 25-year-old Ketchum woman was sentenced Monday to up to a year incarceration in an Idaho Department of Correction rehabilitation program for selling 39 prescription pills earlier this year to an undercover police officer.

Blaine County 5th District Judge Robert J. Elgee pronounced sentence Monday for Jennifer M. Crowdson on a felony charge of delivery of a controlled substance. Crowdson pleaded guilty in August to illegally selling the medication to an officer of the Blaine County Narcotics Enforcement Team, commonly referred to as the NET.

A probable-cause affidavit filed by the NET states that Crowdson sold 39 doses of a generic equivalent of Adderall, a prescription medication to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, to an undercover officer for $200 on March 17. She has remained incarcerated in the Blaine County jail on $25,000 bond since her arrest that day.

Hailey attorney Keith Roark, who was assigned as public defender, said at Monday's hearing that he questioned why the police pursued the case at all because it was a relatively minor sale and that Crowdson "represents no threat whatsoever to society."

Prosecution of the case was delayed for several weeks after Roark and assistant defense attorney Douglas Nelson requested a mental evaluation to determine if Crowdson understood the ramifications of a guilty plea. However, results of an evaluation conducted last summer found that Crowdson was indeed capable of understanding the charge against her and in assisting with her own defense.

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Blaine County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback said at Monday's hearing that Crowdson has tried to "manipulate the system" and that he thinks "Ms. Crowdson is intelligent and she understands the system better that she sometimes shows."

Nonetheless, both Fredback and Roark acknowledged that Crowdson suffers from "mental-health issues," possibly aggravated by a troubled childhood and substance abuse.

In sentencing, Elgee said it will be up to the Idaho Department of Correction to determine how long Crowdson will remain incarcerated. Rehabilitation through the Department of Correction "rider program" could be as short as 90 days. However, if Crowdson fails at rehabilitation, a five-year prison sentence that was ordered and suspended by Elgee could be reinstated.

Roark said he is concerned about the sentence because his client has had difficulty in the past adhering to rules in "any institutionalized setting."

"I am concerned about Ms. Crowdson's ability to complete treatment and probation," Roark said, though he categorized the rehabilitation sentence as the "least among all the evils that are available to this court."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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