Once in 2009, and a second time in 2010, Patricia Spottedcrow, 26, sold $31 total worth of marijuana to a police informant, and was arrested.
In June 2010, Spottedcrow, represented by an attorney who no longer practices law, entered a blind plea to Judge Pritchett in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma. A blind plea is a plea made directly to the judge and without a recommendation, or despite the recommendation for a sentence from the prosecution. It is considered a last ditch effort to enter a plea when the prosecution recommends a sentence that is overly punitive.
Spottedcrow was later sentenced to 12 years in prison and no probation, despite the fact that Spottedcrow had no prior criminal convictions.
Judge Pritchett stated that she imposed the 12 year sentence because there were four children present when the marijuana purchase was made. Those four children are Spottedcrow’s, ages 10, 5, 3 and 2, who are now being raised by Spottedcrow’s mother, Delita Starr.
Starr was also arrested in connection with the transaction with the informant, and was sentenced to a 30 year suspended sentence (probation). Starr currently raises and supports her four grandchildren although she makes $800 per month working at a truck stop, and even though she does not have a driver’s license since it was suspended in connection with her plea.
Thankfully Judge Pritchett is retired, and the case is back before the court, and a different judge. Spottedcrow’s attorney is asking the court to reduce Spottedcrow’s sentence.
In response, prosecutors state that Spottedcrow’s sentence is within the range of punishment allowed under Oklahoma law and should not be modified.
Oklahoma ranks first in the nation for the incarceration of females and fifth for incarcerating males. There are approximately 24,000 people incarcerated in Oklahoma’s penitentiaries on any given day. Approximately 51.5% of those inmates are non-violent offenders.
For people like Judge Pritchett, the prosecutors in the case, and many God-fearing, all-American heartlanders, it is a perfectly acceptable practice to destroy countless families by throwing parents in prison for the equivalent of selling $31 worth of a botanical product that grows naturally the globe over. “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime,” they say.
I would say to them, put your hand flat to your sternum, sit quietly, and focus your attention inward. Do you feel something–anything–going bu-dump, bu-dump in there?
Patricia Spottedcrow in prison for selling $31 worth of marijuana.