“I thought her case was worthy of consideration,” Dreyer said.
|Adam Wisneski/Tulsa World
|Patricia Spottedcrow carries her mattress and belongings to her dorm-style building inside Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center on the first day of her incarceration at the facility
Spottedcrow was busted for selling marijuana to a police snitch in December 2009 and again in January 2010. Her mother, Delita Starr, 51, was also charged.
Because Spottedcrow’s children were in the home, a bullshit charge of “possession of a dangerous substance in the presence of a minor” was added.
In blind pleas before a vindictive judge — i.e., pleading guilty without knowing your sentence, always a spectacularly bad idea — Spottedcrow got a 12-year sentence and her mother got a 30-year suspended sentence. Neither had any previous criminal convictions.
At the time, Kingfisher County had no community sentencing program, such as a Drug Court of Women In Recovery, reports Tulsa World.
When Patricia was booked — after her sentence was handed down — marijuana was found in the jacket she was wearing. She also pleaded guilty to that additional charge, and was sentenced to two years (a patently ridiculous sentence for simple possession of a small amount), running concurrently with her previous draconian sentence.
After her story hit the press, a groundswell of support grew for Spottedcrow (for information on how to send a letter to the parole board in support of Patricia, see below).
Supporters are concerned about possible racial bias (Spottedcrow is Native American), unequal punishment among crimes, women in prison, effects on the young children of incarcerated parents and extreme sentences for drug offenses.
“It’s fantastic the board is taking such an interest in this,” said Oklahoma City attorney Josh Welch, who has been donating his legal services to represent Spottedcrow. ‘It speaks volumes that one member of the board, on his own, though this is worthy to do.”
Welch filed for post-conviction relief on Tuesay, alleging Spottedcrow’s original attorney was ineffective and had a conflict in representing both Patricia and her mother. His petition also argues the sentence “is excessive and shocks the conscience.”
Spottedcrow’s original defense attorney, the hapless Mark Clayborne, has since been convicted of two felony charges — perjury by subornation and allowing the introduction of a false exhibit as evidence — after jury trial in an unrelated case.
Clayborne’s law license got suspended in Oklahoma while he appeals the conviction. He’ll be disbarred if the conviction is upheld, according to court records.
Clayborne declined Welch’s request to provide a statement about Spottedcrow’s case.
Welch, who called the early hearing with the parole board “a step in the right direction,” said he will go ahead with the appeal to contest the merits of her sentence and possibly get an early release from probation.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of Patricia Spottedcrows in the state that many do not know about — where people have been incarcerated when there are better alternatives to treat them,” Welch said.
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Send a Letter to the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board