Judge encourages substance abuse treatment for woman arrested with heroin, fentanyl
A woman who was arrested after police found fentanyl and heroin in her car has been sentenced to jail time and probation with an allowance for the jail time to be reduced for completed inpatient substance abuse treatment.
On Jan. 27, Grand County District Court Judge Mary Hoak sentenced Jessica R. Castellano, 41, to 270 days in jail, three years of probation and substance abuse treatment for one count of felony possession of a controlled substance and one count of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance under a plea agreement.
Castellano will also have to pay more than $4,800 in court costs and cannot contest restitution under $5,000.
Hoak made an allowance forgoing 90 days of jail time if Castellano completed an inpatient substance abuse treatment program.
Castellano received credit for 101 days of time served in the Grand County Jail.
Castellano was arrested in June when police stopped the car she was in and found four grams of heroin and two grams of fentanyl. At the time, Castellano told police the drugs were hers and not the driver’s.
In court on Jan. 27, Castellano’s attorney Chris Hamsher and 14th Judicial District Chief Deputy Attorney Kathryn Dowdell agreed that Castellano had a substance abuse issue that needed treatment and that prison would not be helpful, despite her criminal history. Castellano has been convicted of seven felonies and 12 misdemeanors.
“My thought was to have her incarcerated for some time … and get that period of sobriety through incarceration before launching her out on probation,” Dowdell said. “Are the people optimistic? Not really, to be honest.”
Dowdell also noted that should Castellano fail to meet the probation requirements, she will likely see her probation revoked for a prison or community corrections case.
Hamsher argued that Castellano was taking advantage of mental health and substance abuse treatment offered in jail to get sober, which showed she was taking responsibility for her actions.
“I think she’s had enough time in jail and I think she’s in a position now and got a few pieces in place that she really wants to not be living a life like this and I think probation is worth a shot,” Hamsher said. “If she gets incarcerated, recidivism is likely to reoccur as well.”
Castellano told the judge she was utilizing Mind Springs’ jail-based behavioral services and wanted to continue doing so on probation.
Hoak praised Castellano for her sobriety and efforts in jail to address her addiction and mental health.
“My goal here, Ms. Castellano, is I want you to have some tools when you have to face real life,” Hoak said. “I need to get you some tools so that you will not relapse.”
Under Castellano’s plea agreement, her original charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a second felony possession charge, illegal possession of a financial device and possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed.
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