Patricia Spottedcrow Slated for Sentence Modification Hearing October 6

Many of you have followed Patricia’s Spottedcrow’s story here and on other sites. Perhaps because her story so aptly personifies a flawed system: a working mother with no prior convictions is sentenced to 12 years for selling $31 of marijuana. In potentially better news, Patricia has a hearing for a sentence modification set for Oct. 6, 2011. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed. Or better yet, send her a letter of support and show you care.

Patricia M. Spottedcrow, 26, received a 12-year prison sentence last October for selling a total of $31 in marijuana to a police informant in December 2009 and January 2010. Her mother, Delita Starr, 51, was also charged.

In blind guilty pleas before a judge, Spottedcrow received prison time, and her mother received a 30-year suspended sentence. Neither had prior criminal convictions.

Oklahoma City attorney Josh Welch said he has requested Spottedcrow be present to speak directly to the judge.

“Patricia wants to let the judge know what she has learned and been through,” Welch said. “She wants him to know she’s remorseful, accepts responsibility and it will not happen again. She doesn’t want a free pass or makes excuses for her conduct.

“With all things said, we disagree with the 12-year sentence, with it being excessive for this case.”

Spottedcrow was featured in a Tulsa World article on Feb. 20, published in media across the state through the nonprofit journalism group Oklahoma Watch.

The judge, who is now retired, said in a previous interview that Spottedcrow’s decade-long sentence was imposed because her four young children were in the home at the time of the drug buys. She said first-time offenders usually do not go to prison and alternatives including treatment are typically sought.

When Spottedcrow was booked into the jail after sentencing, some marijuana was found in a jacket she was wearing. She pleaded guilty to a drug possession charge and was given a two-year sentence to run concurrent with her other sentence.

The judge said she gave Starr a suspended sentence so she could care for Spottedcrow’s children, who are now 10, 5, 3 and 2.

In the filing, Starr reportedly earns about $800 a month from her job at a truck stop earning $8 an hour. Expenses for the children are a minimum of $500 for food, clothes, diapers and medicine, and $500 for utilities, water and home maintenance. She cannot drive because her license was revoked in her sentencing.

Starr owes $8,091 in court fees.

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