OK Woman Gets 10 Years for Selling $31 of Marijuana

Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow and her mother sold $10.00 of marijuana to a police informant inside their home. Patricia's children were present. When the informant paid her, she asked her son for single dollar bills so she could make change. A few weeks later, the informant returned and bought $20.00 of pot.

Both women were first-time offenders. They were offered two years in prison and turned it down, pleading guilty without plea agreements. Patricia got ten years in prison, her mother got 30 years suspended, with five years of drug treatment. Both received fines in the thousands of dollars. Patricia was taken into custody immediately. She has effectively lost her four children and her husband. She was unemployed at the time, and the family had recently lost their home. She had previously been employed at a nursing home, as a certified nursing assistant and certified medical assistant, work she'll never get again when out of prison.

Here's what her life will be like in prison. Here's a photo of Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow in prison.She won't be up for parole until 2014. [More....]

About Patricia's 9 year old son Kobe:

He sheds a tear remembering what he misses most. “I used to go in her room and get to lay down with her,” he said, pausing. “I can't see her no more.”

Koby has become the caregiver for his sisters on occasion as his grandmother serves as their guardian. The girls' father helps, but an illness prevents him from caring full-time for the children....

Who's supporting the family now? Patricia's mother:

Starr earns minimum wage working at a gas station and receives food stamps and child care subsidies. She is paying off her nearly $8,600 in court fines at $50 a month. She lives in a rural area and cannot drive because her license was suspended after her conviction. She gets rides from neighbors and friends.

Oklahoma leads the country in female incarceration. It has two prisons for women, with 2,622 inmates.

Of those, 48 percent are serving time for nonviolent drug offenses and 22 percent for other nonviolent offenses such as embezzlement and forgery. Of the 1,393 women received by Oklahoma prisons last year, 78 percent were identified by DOC as minimal public safety threats.

What a Dickensian story. Sadly, the Reefer Madness age continues in some parts of the country, as do draconian sentencing policies. These sentences destroy the lives not just of the offender, but of their families and children. They are also a drain on the public coffers.

Oklahoma Watch has more on the case as part of its series on women in Oklahoma prisons.

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  • Display: Sort:
    what private company (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by cpinva on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 04:15:01 PM EST
    is being paid to house ms. spottedcrow, in a privately run prison? follow the money, always.

    Big Government (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Lora on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 06:45:38 PM EST
    Where are all the tea partiers up in arms against Big Government telling folks how to live their lives?

    Not to mention all the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars spent to incarcerate this woman.

    Well?  Nanny State protesters?

    And Goldman Sachs endures (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Dadler on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 07:18:37 PM EST
    No criminals there, no sir. Only capitalists upholding their sworn duty to acquire and horde as much capital as they can by any means necessary. It's the person nabbed with a dime bag that needs to be in the stockade. Phucking sick, atrophied, dying quasi-nation.

    Someone Need to Push for a Pardon (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by ScottW714 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:11:02 PM EST
    Governor, Mr President, this case is why you have that power.

    state "offense" (none / 0) (#24)
    by Peter G on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:14:46 PM EST
    Power to pardon lies with Governor of Oklahoma exclusively, not with the President, whose clemency power extends only to federal offenses.

    I think I'm going to be sick (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by cal1942 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 11:06:41 PM EST
    Our society drives people into desperation just to survive and the penalty for being a victim is to be victimized all the more.

    And to think that Patricia Spottedcrow is one of far too many.

    Cop does crime, woman does time. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Yes2Truth on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 02:12:36 PM EST

    It seems to me that most, or nearly all, victimless crimes + murder(of spouse)-for-hire crimes are
    created by law enforcement.

    Like the prisoner said:  the people being held here against their will are no problem because the real criminals are still policing the country.

    Police - n., an armed force for protection and participation.

    Her name appears to be (none / 0) (#3)
    by observed on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 04:25:25 PM EST
    Native American.

    repulsive (none / 0) (#4)
    by jharp on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 04:27:13 PM EST
    Good grief. It just makes me sick.

    What an effed up world we live in.

    Sheer insanity (none / 0) (#5)
    by ruffian on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 04:35:09 PM EST

    terrible (none / 0) (#6)
    by TeresaInPa on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 05:40:38 PM EST
    the punishment is so much worse than the crime.
    On the other hand...ugh, don't involve your kids in your pathetic illegal behavior.  Kids should not be seeing parents and grandparents breaking the law and certainly they should not be making change for the customer.
    WTF is wrong with people?  These women were being used by suppliers who will just keep on making millions.

    Do you (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by dead dancer on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 06:36:37 PM EST
    ever have a drink around your kids? Or someone else's kids?

    Come on (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Raskolnikov on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 07:02:13 PM EST
    Big difference between having a drink in front of your kids and having your kids count out change to help you sell pot.  Ridiculous comparison.

    yeah (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by fiver on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 07:44:49 PM EST
    the only difference is that alcohol is far worse than smoking or selling pot.

    So, I guess you are assuming the kid knew (none / 0) (#18)
    by nycstray on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:07:55 PM EST
    what the change was for/the transaction was?

    They left the kids with grandma who was also busted for the same transactions . . .


    The Differece is Obvious (none / 0) (#21)
    by ScottW714 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:14:13 PM EST
    One can land you in prison for 10 years, the other is legal.  

    Make it legal and I'll let your kids watch me sell crack and smack all say long.


    C'mon (none / 0) (#29)
    by Lora on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:35:33 PM EST
    Crack and smack is completely different from $10 or $20 worth of reefer.  I am sure you know this.

    nonsense (none / 0) (#7)
    by jharp on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 05:56:14 PM EST
    "These women were being used by suppliers who will just keep on making millions."

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

    The marijuana could have come from countless sources. Including the possibility that some poor slob grows it next to the railroad tracks in the slum he is living in so he can feed and clothe his children.


    The punishment is ridiculous (none / 0) (#8)
    by Raskolnikov on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 06:30:44 PM EST
    But I agree that you shouldn't be selling drugs in front of your children, I don't see why there should be any tolerance for that.  Weird story, obviously shouldn't have gotten jail time, it seems child protective services would be more appropriate.

    Just cements my opinions (none / 0) (#10)
    by shoephone on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 06:40:36 PM EST
    of stupid laws and red states like Oklahoma (where things are, clearly, not "OK.")

    Just remember... (none / 0) (#28)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 12:16:26 PM EST
    they took the time to immunize themselves from that horrible menace to America, Sharia Law.

    I'm sure that after passing the sentence (none / 0) (#13)
    by Nowonmai on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 07:03:20 PM EST
    That night the judge and his cronies tossed back a few whiskeys, while their wives took sleeping pills, and patted themselves on the back about it, all they while b*tching that the Wall Street Crooks are still walking around free as birds.

    it was a female judge (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:33:12 AM EST
    and she's now retired.

    Jeezus (none / 0) (#16)
    by Edger on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 07:45:01 PM EST
    Does the no swearing policy apply in this thread?

    Makes it kinda hard to comment, eh? (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by nycstray on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:09:47 PM EST
    Well.... yes! (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:20:21 PM EST
    Anything I say would so full of asterisks it'd set a new standard for swearing...

    what exactly (none / 0) (#17)
    by fiver on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 07:46:20 PM EST
    does our society gain by this "justice"?

    What I find remarkable (none / 0) (#26)
    by Matt v on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 10:09:52 AM EST
    is that the media and press have nowhere identified Patricia as being Native American  while her state, Oklahoma, having the second largest NA population of the States, makes it almost certain that she is.

     I wonder why they haven't? Could it be that accurately identifying her as such would serve as too much of a reminder of the horrors Native American women have had to suffer for centuries at the hands of whites? Shameful and exploitative  abuse that's become institutionalized, as testified to by the callous and conscienceless certitude of the judge in this case.  

    Might be her married name. (none / 0) (#30)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:23:35 PM EST
    I don't think so. (none / 0) (#34)
    by Matt v on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:45:32 PM EST
     She is in an 8 year common law marriage.  Besides, anyone viewing her image would see that she's surely Native American. Sorry for the wasted sarcasm, if that's what it was.   Pix at http://www.oklahomawatch.org/_images/110220103539.jpg

    Makes sense to me. (none / 0) (#35)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:51:16 PM EST
    One has to assume (none / 0) (#27)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 12:14:18 PM EST
    that Oklahoma has no budget problems like the rest of the country if they can afford to lock up so many people for nonviolent drug offenses. What a ridiculous waste of money and a life.

    comment reposting large segments of the article (none / 0) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 03:35:07 PM EST
    deleted. Please do not quote more than a short paragraph of copyrighted material, link to it and comment on it. Copyright violations are taken seriously these days.

    Sorry J. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 03:57:31 PM EST
    More info on the woman here.
    "When kids are involved, it's different," Pritchett said. "This was not a drug possession. This was a drug sale. When I look at someone in front of me, I'm thinking, `What is it going to take to rehabilitate this person?' We look at their attitude and other factors that play into that."

    When Spottedcrow was taken to jail after her sentencing, she had marijuana in her jacket. She pleaded guilty to that additional charge on Jan. 24 and sentenced to two years in prison and fined nearly $1,300. The sentence will run concurrent with her other conviction.

    She brought MJ to her MJ conviction sentencing hearing.

    And that justifies what exacly? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Rojas on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 06:34:33 PM EST
    30 days in county at three for one perhaps? Pritchett is certifiable.

    Do with them what you will.

    Saw it yesterday from the links J provided (none / 0) (#37)
    by Rojas on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 07:08:04 PM EST
    Does not justify that judges actions.

    legal malpractice (none / 0) (#38)
    by diogenes on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 09:42:54 PM EST
    Who was the Oklahoma lawyer who advised her to turn down a plea for two years and plead guilty and throw herself on the mercy of the court?  
    Also, it isn't prison for "one offense" but for "one conviction".  I somehow doubt that this was the very first time she sold pot to anyone.  

    So she should be thrown in jail (none / 0) (#39)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:05:39 PM EST
    for selling another 10$ of pot because of her previous convictions for the same offense.

    Gee, that almost makes sense, Doc.


    Horrible story (none / 0) (#40)
    by Tony on Sat Feb 26, 2011 at 08:03:27 PM EST
    Fortunately one of our local defense attorneys, Josh Welch, has taken up her case pro-bono.

    Also Wayne Coyne, who is the lead singer of the band the Flaming Lips and beloved in Oklahoma (the Lips' song "Do You Realize?" is our state rock song) is involved as well, so that should help keep it in the news.

    Hopefully something good will come of this.  Thanks for highlighting it, Jeralyn.