Judge: Defendants will be drug tested at hearings

Published 9:56 am Friday, August 26, 2011

Cooper modifies bond for two

A new policy in the Lawrence County Common Pleas courtroom of Judge Charles Cooper will require drug screenings at pretrial hearings for defendants who are out on bond.

Cooper said Wednesday defendants will also be required to bring any prescribed medications to court so officials can count the pills to see if they are being taken properly.

A condition of bond had always been that defendants are to avoid abusing drugs and are subject to random drug tests, Cooper said.

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The new policy means that defendants won’t have to wonder whether or not they’ll have to undergo a drug test, Cooper said.

Keeping with the policy, the judge modified the bond for Amanda L. Debraga, 25, of 6028 Hubbards Branch Road, Huntington, W.Va. Debraga tested positive for Oxycontin, Cooper said.

Debraga said she took a Percocet for back pain.

Debraga was allowed to post bond, but not a recognizance bond. The new bond of $25,000 would have to be posted by cash or surety.

Debraga is charged with misuse of a credit card and two counts of forgery. She previously pleaded not guilty.

Also in court Wednesday, Cooper modified bond for Jonathan Harmon, 28, of 311 Township Road 102, Ironton. Harmon is charged with complicity to burglary, a second-degree felony. He has previously pleaded not guilty.

Cooper had previously set a $100,000 recognizance bond with home confinement for Harmon because of the man’s medical problems.

Lynn Stewart, a probation officer, told the court that Harmon lied to the adult probation department about going to Ohio State University Medical Center when he instead went King’s Daughters Medical Center and several residences in Ashland, Ky.

Cooper changed Harmon’s bond to $100,000 cash or surety and said that he may review bond at a later date.

In other cases:

Brandon White, 19, of 355 County Road 3 trailer B, Chesapeake, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering and theft from an elderly person.

Cooper sentenced White to four years of CCS and reserved 11 months in prison if he violates the terms of CCS. White and a co-defendant will also have to pay $300 in restitution.

William M. Nickles, 33, of 94 C St., Louisa, Ky., admitted to violating the terms of his community-control sanctions.

Cooper sentenced Nickles to nine months in prison, to run concurrently with a sentence pending in West Virginia.

Jonathan Rice, 23, of 2434 ½ S. Sixth St., denied a CCS violation. Cooper set a pretrial hearing for Sept. 7.