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Interview with Darlene, Ryan and Janis

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Darlene: The pre-sentencing process was very long and drug out over a matter of about a year. I didn't actually do the crime, but with my record the prosecutor didn't believe me, I wanted to take it to trial but I ended up with of course a "public pretender" that didn't give a damn about me or my case. My original plan was to sign into drug court and stick with that program for 2 years and have the charges dropped, but Drug Court requires an extreme amount of time out of you, and I couldn't dedicate myself to Drug Court so I had decided to get sentenced and do my 4 months. While waiting to be sentenced they held me in jail for 11 days.
Ryan: I was not presentenced, I was detained on a bench warrant for a speeding ticket and a drug charge that I didn't go to court for.
Janis: I was given community service because I was pregnent, but I lived an hour out of town with no car, and no buses go there, so when I failed to do the community service by a certain time , I was given jail time.

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Darlene: No, the police did not stop by my house. I had been doing work crew on jail alternatives through the Skagit County Sheriffs office on another charge and I went to work crew Monday morning not thinking anything of it, just another day. So instead of the work crew van going to a job site for us to get started the work crew supervisor drove over to the sheriffs office where a detective was waiting to question me, and eventually charge me. So me being questioned by a detective about new charges violated my work crew so they put me in jail. After I got out of jail a couple month's later I got the paperwork stating that I was in fact being charged with the crimes, I tried doing drug court and wasn't comitted to being clean and sober at the time so I didnt show up for treatment or court and had a felony warrent issued and got picked up at my friends house for new felony charges that I recently finished my commitment on.
Ryan: No, I was driving in Burlington with a headlight out and I was pulled over. I was then told I might be released, but the jail wanted me on the warrants.
Janis: No. I was on my way to work and got pulled over. The SHeriff then informed me of my warrant and took me to jail.My son was only 2 1/2 months old and I also lost my job because of the days I missed.

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Darlene: Court took months and months, continuance after continuance. I never got a chance to actually say one word to the judge or prosecutor myself, I never got to defend myself. First I had my Arraignment stating what I was charged with asking if I was pleading guilty or not guilty, I pled not guilty. Then there was a bunch of continuances and me meeting with my public defender in between hearings, after arraignment comes trial, my public defender claims he didn't think we would win at the trial he stated that if we loose I may get the max, that's how they scare you into accepting the "deal" from the prosecutor, I personally think he was to lazy to do the work of a trial. So I asked about the drug court and I screwed that up, I wasn't committed enough to staying clean and sober at the time so I ended up in jail for those 11 days previously mentioned. So in order for me to get released from jail and avoid bail jumping charges the prosecutor made me a deal saying she would have me released and not charge me with bail jumping so I was forced into pleading guilty and was released the morning following my sentencing to go to jail alternatives and set up my commitment date to turn my self in for 4 months.
Ryan: Court in Skagit County is a slow process. In previous cases it took me more than an hour and a half to see the judge. The judge that I had was pretty strict and pretty much always gave the maximum sentence/penalty.
Janis: The courtroom was pretty full, and at least half of the people were there for traffic offenses like me.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Darlene: My original charges were Possession of stolen property 2nd degree and Criminal impersonation 2nd degree. The Criminal impersonation ended up getting dropped and I was charges with the Possession of stolen property 2nd degree
Ryan: Charged with DWLS 3rd, and possesion of less than 40 grams.
Janis: Hit and run, dropped to hit and run unattended.

Read about sentencing in the Skagit County Jail

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