Judge refuses plea deal in couple's meth case

John Reed
Posted: Feb. 26, 2013 6:30 pm Updated: Mar. 26, 2013 7:15 pm
Felicia Conners

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

A Quincy couple will have their methamphetamine case heard by another judge after the judge handling their case refused to accept a negotiated plea of probation.

Judge William Mays recused himself from a case involving Felicia K. Conners, 26, and John W. Reed, 29. Conners and Reed were to be sentenced on a methamphetamine manufacturing charge.

Conners and Reed, who are married, were arrested on April 16 and charged with aggravated methamphetamine manufacturing, a Class X felony. They were arrested in the 400 block of State. The charge was aggravated because two young children lived at the residence. Both entered guilty pleas to an amended charge of methamphetamine manufacturing less than 15 grams, a Class 1 felony. In exchange for their guilty pleas, Conners and Reed would receive parole. The sentencing range for a Class 1 felony is between 4 and 15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

However, Mays refused to go along with the negotiated plea.

Both Conners and Reed admitted drug use to their parole officer in the last week. Conners admitted marijuana use prior to a Feb. 19 urinalysis and admitted to using methamphetamine prior to a Feb. 25 urinalysis. She tested negative both times. Reed admitted to using cannabis prior to a Feb. 19 urinalysis and admitted to using methamphetamine prior to a Feb. 25 urinalysis. Reed tested positive both times.

"Based on what I've seen, I'm not going to utilize the services of the probation department by sentencing them to probation," Mays said.

The case will be forwarded to Chief Judge Richard Greenlief for reassignment. The guilty pleas each submitted were withdrawn and their case was placed on the May jury docket. Bond was continued for both Conners and Reed.

Conners served 59 days in the Adams County Jail after her arrest. After initially facing a $75,000 bond, she had it reduced to a $50,000 recognizance bond so that she could enter a treatment program. Reed served 29 days in the Adams County Jail before being released on a $50,000 recognizance bond so that he could enter treatment. Reed's original bond was $100,000.

Riff Scholz, who represented Conners and Reed, tried to lobby on their behalf.

"Mr. Reed and Ms. Conners have issues they have to deal with that are beyond the meth," Scholz said. "This meth is as bad as an addiction as possible."

First Assistant State's Attorney Gary Farha said the state's attorney's office will wait before seeking a change in the bond status for Conners and Reed.

"The people aren't going to be tolerant of positive (uninalysis) results for much longer," Farha said.

Conners and Reed held hands throughout the hearing. The listened intently as Mays wrapped up the hearing.

"If you don't deal with (their meth problems), you will wind up in the Department of Corrections," he said. "If you want your children back, you have to do what Chaddock wants you to, what the Probation Department wants you to do and what your counselors want you to do. You need to go to long-term treatment."

Conners and Reed will be back in court March 13 for a status hearing.


Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story indicated that the children were present when meth was being produced. The children lived in the residence but were not necessarily present during production.