By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Nearly two weeks ago, Judge Scott Walden sent Rannie S. Myers to jail when she tested positive for methamphetamine prior to a sentencing hearing on two meth charges. On Wednesday, Myers was given a second chance by Walden when he sentenced her to 36 months probation instead of sending her to prison.
Myers, 34, of Quincy, entered guilty pleas in two separate cases in November. She pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine precursors, a Class 2 felony, from a June 17 incident, and to possession of methamphetamine manufacturing materials, a Class 2 felony, from an Aug. 17 arrest. She had a Class X charge of aggravated methamphetamine manufacturing from the August arrest dismissed as part of her plea agreement.
Myers faced a sentencing cap of six years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in exchange for her guilty pleas.
Walden said he was sparing Myers from a prison sentence because she had virtually no previous criminal record. She also successfully completed a residential treatment program at Recovery Resources. However, Myers hadn't been doing what was required of her in her outpatient program. She tested positive for methamphetamine prior to her Jan. 25 sentencing hearing.
Walden delayed the sentencing that day and ordered that Myers' bond be revoked, and he sent her to the Adams County Jail.
Before Walden delivered his sentence, Myers' attorney, Public Defender Todd Nelson, entered into evidence a letter that Myers wrote. In the letter, Myers made reference to her children's father, Ronald S. Clifton. Clifton was scheduled to be sentenced by Judge William Mays on a methamphetamine charge on Wednesday morning. However, Clifton tested positive for methamphetamine as well and had his hearing postponed to March 28.
Myers and Clifton have three children between the ages of 12 and 17 who are being taken care of by Myers' mother.
"(Methamphetamine) makes mothers and fathers pick that stuff over their own children, which is what you and Mr. Clifton have shown over the last couple weeks," Walden said. "You have chosen meth over your own children. That doesn't sound very good, does it?"
"That hurts," Myers said.
Walden said Myers was using a quarter gram of methamphetamine per day prior to her arrests. The National Precursor Log Exchange, which tracks pseudoephedrine purchases, showed Myers had purchased pills 25 time and been blocked on six occasions.
Assistant State's Attorney Josh Jones argued that Myers be sent to prison. He pointed out how Myers turned back to the drug while she was out on bond and that she wasn't making required after-treatment meetings.
"Her counselor at Recovery Resources wrote that (Myers) ‘doesn't appear to be concerned with doing well in outpatient treatment,' " Jones said. "I can't, in good conscious, ask the court to work harder than Ms. Myers has. The appropriate sentence is a term to the Department of Corrections."
Nelson asked Walden for probation. He pointed out that Myers had completed the residential program at Recovery Resources. Nelson also said that the minimum prison sentence of three years for the offenses wasn't appropriate for this case.
Myers was emotional throughout the 35-minute hearing.
"I know I can be a productive person in society," she said through tears. "Addiction can be very strong and unless you are in it, you don't know what it is. I am willing to do the probation and to be there for my children and my family."
Walden said he gave Myers a longer probation term that he normally would. He also ordered her to serve 180 days in the Adams County Jail, including 60 days immediately so that she can line up treatment.
"You've said that your life has been a roller coaster ride," Walden said to Myers. "We're going to try to bring some level to that."
Myers received TASC probation, which means that if she successfully completes all the terms of the probation the felony conviction will be wiped off of her record.