|Patricia Spottedcrow has served one year of her 12-year prison sentence for selling $31 worth of marijuana. In October, a local judge shaved four years off the sentence, leaving eight.|
Patricia Spottedcrow, the Oklahoma mom who infamously was given 12 years in prison for selling $31 worth of marijuana, has now served one year of her draconian sentence.
One year ago, on the week of Christmas 2010, the first-time offender was thrown into the Eddie Warrior women’s prison in Taft, Okla., the first holiday she’d ever spent separated from her four young children, reports Ginnie Graham at the Tulsa World.
“I cried and cried just thinking of my kids opening presents on Christmas and I wasn’t there,” she said. “This year, it’s going to be any other day. I try not to keep up with the days in here.”
“The first eight months were a blur,” Spottedcrow said. “I just cried a lot. It’s like a woke up a couple of months ago.
”You have to try and keep your mind busy,” she said. “It’s easy to get sad, depressed and stuck in your own head in here.”
The scene’s not much better at her mother’s home in Kingfisher, where Spottedcrow’s four children — ages 2, 4, 5 and 10 — now live.
“We’re crying here, too,” said Delita Starr, Spottedcrow’s mother. “We’ll try to make sure there is money in her account for a phone call. What else can we do?”
Spottedcrow, 26, was arrested and charged for selling $31 worth of cannabis to an undercover informant in December 2009 and again in January 2010. Starr, 51, was also charged.
Because of the presence of the four children, an additional charge was added.
In blind guilty pleas for a vindictive judge (always a spectacularly bad idea), Spottedcrow got a 12-year sentence and her mother received a 30-year suspended sentence. Neither had any previous convictions.
The judge said she allowed Starr to avoid prison to take care of the children.
When Spottedcrow was booked after being sentenced, more marijuana was found in the jacket she was wearing — of course, another really bad idea. She pleaded guilty to that additional possession charge, and was given two more years in prison running concurrently with her previous sentence.
A groundswell of support grew once Spottedcrow’s story hit the press. Supporters were concerned with possible racial bias (she is a Native American), unequal punishment, women in prison, effects on children of imprisoned parents and extreme sentences for drug offenses.
Oklahoma City attorney Josh Welch has donated his services to fight the injustice of the case.
A Kingfisher County judge took four years off Spottedcrow’s sentence back in October — but, of course, that still left eight long years.
The judge issued an order rather than allow Spottedcrow to appear in court that day. Her attorney and supporters believe it was to avoid the supportive crowd expected to show up.
Welch said he plans to file for post-conviction relief, alleging the original attorney was ineffective and had a conflict in representing both Spottedcrow and her mother. He plans to file in early January and submit an early parole packet at the same time.
“We are grateful to get four years taken off her sentence but still believe the sentence is unjust and excessive,” Welch said.