Court cracks down on drug abuse

Published 11:32 am Thursday, July 27, 2017

Continues to increase bond for failed urinalysis

Last week Judge Andrew Ballard increased bond to $50,000 for three individuals after they failed urine tests, reminding them that remaining drug free is a condition of their release on bond. This week was no different, with the judge emphasizing to defendants on Wednesday morning that while he’s happy to help those who are sincerely seeking recovery, he will not tolerate people violating the terms of their bond by continuing to abuse drugs.

“If I can keep people clean by keeping them in jail, I will,” Ballard told one defendant, Chadra Mobley, 31, of Ironton.

Ballard made the statement as a warning to Mobley, before lowering her bond from $7,500, set by the lower court, to $3,500, to facilitate her release pending a September trial. He noted at that time, as well, that he had increased the bond on everyone who had failed urine screenings the previous week. He told Mobley that if she failed a future urine test, he would not hesitate to increase her bond to $50,000 too.

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Mobley, who pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of heroin, told Ballard that she was currently clean, and the judge ordered a urine test to establish a baseline for subsequent urine screenings.

The judge increased bond for Dean Montroso, 46, of South Point, after Montroso failed to fully comply with the judge’s orders. Montroso had tested positive for several controlled substances last week when submitting a urine sample as a condition of his bond. Montroso told the court at that time that he had prescriptions for opioid-based pain killers, and

Ballard ordered him to return this week with the prescription pill bottles so that the court could verify his prescription and do a valid pill count. Montroso, who is charged with F5 possession of oxycodone, returned this week with a list of valid prescriptions, but no bottles as ordered.

While Montroso and his attorney argued that he had only empty bottles, as he had completed the 30 day prescriptions, Ballard told Montroso that he was “adamantly clear” about what he wanted Montroso to do, and that by failing to do so, Ballard couldn’t determine if he was using the drugs as prescribed.

While Ballard didn’t set Montroso’s bond at $50,000 as he had for other individuals who failed drug screenings, he did increase it to $25,000. He told Montroso that he would reconsider the bond next week, if Montroso could have the prescription bottles delivered to the court by a friend or family member, or delivered by himself if he made bond.

In other action in Ballard’s court on Wednesday, Brandy Bump, 30, of Ironton, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and was sentenced to treatment in lieu of conviction, and ordered to complete a program at Mended Reeds and to complete 200 hours of community service.

Lisa Cartwright, 39, of South Point, pleaded not guilty to new charges of failure to appear on charges of F5 possession of focalin and F5 possession of cocaine. Bond was set at $50,000 own recognizances, however, Cartwright is already being held on bond of $50,000 cash or surety in her original case, after failing urinalysis and testing positive for marijuana and cocaine last week.

Joshua Clagg, 39, of Proctorville, pleaded not guilty to charges of F2 burglary. Bond was set at $10,000 cash or surety, $50,000 own recognizances, and GPS monitoring was required as a condition of bond.

Chaz Estep, 26, of South Point, pleaded guilty to F4 domestic violence, and was sentenced to four years community control sanctions with ISP, 90 days in jail, 200 hours of community service, and ordered to complete an inpatient drug-counseling program.

John Pennington, 52, of Coal Grove, pleaded not guilty to new charges of failure to appear. Pennington was already being held on $125,000 cash or surety bond on charges of domestic violence and disrupting public services, both felonies of the fourth degree. Ballard added an additional $50,000 own recognizances bond on top of that for the charge of failing to appear on his original charges.

Katherine Roberts, 29, of Ironton, admitted to violating the conditions of her community control sanctions. Roberts, whose CCS on 2008 charges was set to expire, still owed the county 78 hours of community service, as well as court and supervisory fees. Ballard extended Roberts’ CCS by one year, so that she could complete the outstanding requirements.

Charles Schob, 46, of Ironton, pleaded not guilty to charges of F4 trafficking in heroin and F4 complicity to trafficking in heroin. Ballard set bond at $25,000 own recognizances and $10,000 cash or surety, with GPS monitoring as a condition of release on bond.

Michael Short, 28, of Ironton, had his bond reduced to $5,000 cash or surety and $10,000 own recognizances on F3 charges of aggravated possession of methamphetamine and two charges of F3 aggravated trafficking in methamphetamine.

Ryan S. Stephens, 19, of Ironton, pleaded guilty to F5 theft, and had his sentencing set for August 23.

Lula Vance, 32, of Detroit, Michigan, pleaded not guilty to charges of failure to appear on a 2015 felony case. Vance’s attorney, Philip Heald, argued that Vance has been in recovery, has been holding a job in Michigan, and has a child that she cares for as conditions for lower bond, but Ballard set bond in the case at $50,000 cash or surety and $50,000 own recognizances.

In Judge Charles Cooper’s court, Paul McMackin, 58, of Coal Grove, pleaded guilty to charges of tampering with evidence, a felony of the third degree, and had F5 charges of complicity to misuse of a credit card nullified. McMackin was sentenced to four years of CCS with ISP, six months in jail, and 90 days in an inpatient treatment program, with three years reserved.

Clayton Pate, 34, or Ironton, pleaded not guilty to charges of F4 burglary, violating a protective order, criminal trespass and possession of a drug abuse instrument. Bond was set at $75,500 cash or surety and $10,000 own recognizances.

Brent A. Patrick, 28, of Coal Grove, pleaded not guilty to charges of F2 burglary, and had bond set at $100,000 cash or surety.

Timothy E. Powell, 46, of South Point, was arraigned on CCS violations and had his bond set at $25,000 cash, surety or property.