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December 3, 2012

Early parole after two years' imprisonment for Oklahoma woman initially given 12 years for small pot sales

Regular readers may recall the story of Patricia Spottedcrow, first discussed in this post, who was initially sentenced to a dozen years in Oklahoma state prison for selling $31 in marijuana to a police informant in December 2009 and January 2010.  This recent story from the Tusla World, headlined "Patricia Spottedcrow paroled early in 12-year sentence for $31 bag of marijuana," explains how she is now out of prison:

The four reasons Patricia Spottedcrow most wanted out of prison were back in her arms Thursday afternoon, after their mother was released on parole. Her children are 11, 6, 5 and 3 years old now. The youngest was just 1 when Spottedcrow began her prison sentence two years ago.

If Gov. Mary Fallin hadn't approved Spottedcrow's parole and if the Pardon and Parole Board hadn't agreed to early consideration for her case, her children might have all been teenagers by the time she got out.

Spottedcrow was released from Hillside Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City on Thursday morning after completing a community-level sentence required by the governor as a condition of her parole. Her 12-year prison sentence for selling $31 worth of marijuana garnered widespread national attention after her story was featured in a 2011 Tulsa World series on women in prison.

Spottedcrow originally faced a 12-year prison sentence out of Kingfisher County for selling a "dime bag" of marijuana to a police informant. She entered prison in December 2010 after spending a few months waiting in the county jail.

After her story was published in the World, grassroots supporters lobbied officials to reconsider Spottedcrow's punishment. Advocates expressed concern for possible racial bias, disparate sentences for drug crimes, Oklahoma's No. 1 female incarceration rate per capita and the effects on children growing up with incarcerated parents.

The specifics of this case are notable not only because of how extreme Spottedcrow's initial prison sentence appeared to be, but also because of how Oklahoma's preservation of parole in its sentencing system served as a kind of second-look safety valve so that this seemingly not-so-dangerous first-offender could be released without the state and others having to bear the considerable costs of an extreme extended term of imprisonment.

Prior posts on Spottedcrow's case:

December 3, 2012 at 06:45 PM | Permalink


sure, no one gets serious time anymore for a minor possession charge....uh huh think again. She's lucky it was such a media story or she'd still be sitting in there.

Posted by: Randy | Dec 3, 2012 7:40:10 PM

"sure, no one gets serious time anymore for a minor possession charge....uh huh think again."

Read the story. It wasn't a possession charge. Not that it makes a difference. Anyone can cherrypick a one-in-a-hundred or one-in-a-thousand case. The existence of anomalies proves little more than that anomalies exist.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 3, 2012 10:16:45 PM

On the negative side which possibly justified a strong sentence:
. . . Spottingcrow & Starr "were conducting “an extensive operation” and included children in the business" said Judge Pritchett.
. . . The PSI "rated Spottedcrow's risk of re-offending as “high” and recommended substance abuse treatment while incarcerated."
. . . The PSI found that Spottedcrow "makes justifications for her actions,” & does not see a "nee[d] to make changes in her current behavior.”
. . . "When Spottedcrow was booked, after her sentence was handed down, marijuana was found in the jacket she was wearing."

On the plus side for Ms. Spottingcrow is her statement:
"I'm not playing with my life anymore. I would never chance this again for my children,"
as well as her attendance at N.A. and the like, but her genuineness remains to be proven.

Posted by: Adamakis | Dec 4, 2012 8:52:12 AM

"Anyone can cherrypick a one-in-a-hundred or one-in-a-thousand case"

Bill should know ... that's his bread and butter. OTOH, you could come up with a hundred more of these and he'd still tell us it's an isolated incident.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Dec 4, 2012 9:15:44 AM

Grits --

When you admit you concocted and peddled your fable about the Austin police assaulting you with weapons, and further admit you tried to suppress the videotape that showed you fabricated it, be sure to get back to me.

The fact remains that pot smoking is, for almost all practical purposes, de facto legal, as you certainly know. When you're in the sales business, things change, you bet. I never claimed otherwise.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 4, 2012 12:10:33 PM

Look at this delicious news: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2012/12/04/pot_poll_ppp_finds_record_support_for_legalization_of_pot.html

Support for legalization of cannabis is growing dramatically.

The end of the days of prohibition is near.

Good bye vicious drug war.

Posted by: Kind Green Bud | Dec 4, 2012 6:00:19 PM

Bill Otis is a dick.

Posted by: Jeff Spicoli | Dec 4, 2012 6:03:25 PM

"Bill Otis is a dick."

Legalization "analysis" hits its high water mark.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 4, 2012 6:12:13 PM

King Green Bud --

Gosh, did you forget to reference the other six most recent polls (not sponsored by a partisan organization), not one of which shows a majority favoring legalization? http://www.pollingreport.com/drugs.htm

But your PPP poll shows legalization winning by 19 percent, 58 to 39?

After big, expensive campaigns in very blue states, pot won by 53 percent (Colorado) and 55 percent (Washington), while losing by 10 points in equally blue Oregon -- all three states carefully selected by the legalization forces as presenting the most favorable climate.

But now, magically, pot enjoys a 19 percent lead NATIONWIDE!!!

Sure it does.

Your poll is a fraud, and you certainly know it. Either that or you're too stoned to recognize a fraud when it's staring you in the face.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 4, 2012 6:45:43 PM

'But now, magically, pot enjoys a 19 percent lead NATIONWIDE!!!'

are you anal retentive...it passed, get a grip, a clear majority of the people in those states voted for it, get over it because most likely it's just the beginning

Posted by: Carl | Dec 4, 2012 8:05:52 PM

Carl --

I point to six polls, every one of which significantly contradicts the finding of the one partisan poll Green Bud cited. I also note that two distinctly liberal states approved pot by margins considerably less than the one claimed in Green Bud's supposedly nationwide poll, and one liberal state turned it down. (I didn't mention California, which in 2010 turned it down by defeating Prop 19 by seven percentage points).

Your response is to ignore all these facts and content yourself to call me "anal retentive." I won't comment on that beyond noting that you contradict your ally Jeff Spicoli, who identified me with a different, though nearby, part of the body.

That's about where it is with the legalizer bunch. Congratulations on your candor. It's nothing if not revealing.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 4, 2012 9:09:48 PM


Legalization is not too far off. Hooray!!

Posted by: Chico State Stoner | Dec 5, 2012 1:36:09 AM

We're almost there: http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2012/nov/30/cbs_poll_shows_record_legalization_support

Posted by: Stop Bill Otis and his Drug War | Dec 5, 2012 1:39:40 AM

Chico State Stoner & Stop Bill Otis, etc. --

I guess when you get really blasted you get giddy and start thinking that when the score is 2 for you and 48 (and the feds) for the opposition, that means you've won. Well that's just so far out! Totally groovy!!! Could I have another brownie?

Still, you have a point, kind of. It's now clear that when you're stoned enough, the score showing that you're massively behind in the state-by-state count, and somewhat behind in nationwide popular sentiment as measured by the half dozen most recent polls -- that showing can just go up in smoke (so to speak), since all you potheads -- naturally right at the peak of your analytical and percipient abilities -- are ready to bullhorn your locked-in-stone "facts about the future."

Don't worry. After you sober up -- if you ever do -- you might remember the old wisdom that -- sorry -- there ARE no facts about the future.

Now there was one notable exception to this. Death penalty abolitionists confidently predicted back in 1972 that the DP was all over with in this country. And as they told us, with loud and confident delight some might have mistaken for hubris, that the dream of abolition had been achieved. No more executions, ever again. Whooooopie!!!

And so it has been...............I mean it has, hasn't it?.............how's that?.........the country re-thought the matter.............decided we had it right the first time..........so abolition looked like it was here, but it didn't quite work out that way.

Oh. Never mind.

P.S. Didn't a wise man once say that there are no facts about the future? Well, I don't think we should get too worked up about it. The wisdom of times gone by is hard to remember when you're thoroughly zapped mental state convinces you nothing else counts 'cause you're Einstein and besides, those munchies are SOOOOO good.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 5, 2012 4:46:31 AM

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