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Rice Accepted Into Drug Court Program

By Staff | Aug 26, 2015

Cody Rice, 23, was accepted into drug court Monday, Aug. 17 in Wetzel County Circuit Court.

Rice had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.

Rice explained to Judge David W. Hummel there was no excuse for what he had done.

“I hung out with the wrong people. I look back, and I have no desire to go back to that life. (Drug court) seems like it would be a good program. If I have the opportunity to get involved in the program, I won’t let you, myself, or (other individuals in drug court) down.”

Rice admitted to being on drugs every day for eight months to a year. He said he had been using suboxone for the past six months.

Rice admitted to being prescribed suboxone but then later purchased it illegally. He said each pill would cost $25 to $50, and he would make a pill last for four days.

Attorney David White, filling in for partner, Kevin Neiswonger, stated that he believed Rice would be sufficient for drug court. “If the court would give him that opportunity, he could succeed,” White said.

Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught reported that he did agree not to oppose Rice’s admittance into drug court if he was eligible. “I’m not in opposition to that in principle,” he said.

It was also noted that if Rice fails the drug court program, he would go straight to prison to serve one to five years in the penitentiary.

Judge Hummel explained to Rice that he (Hummel) was in charge of drug court and would see Rice on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. “Drug court works most effectively and efficiently if there are substantial and swift consequences,” Hummel explained.

“It is difficult to flunk out of drug court. There’s the real easy way – bring in fake urine. That’s an automatic out. There are other ways to be terminated. I’ll sanction you first if you are failing a drug test. You will receive more community service, periods of incarceration, depending on how frequently you flunk a drug test. If you come in with a cocktail of three to four drugs, you are lucky to be alive. I may sentence you to 30 days. Getting kicked out is a tremendous feat. There’s been a few of them. But if I kick a person out, you go to prison. The reason for that, sending them to prison, it’s a last resort. Otherwise, if I kick them out, terminate them, put them on probation . . . it does our community no good and does you no good.”

Rice was sentenced to the Division of Corrections for one to five years, with credit for time already served. Hummel stated he was imposing a portion of the sentence.

“If in fact you would have delivered methamphetamines, it would have been a violent crime. It’s killing people and killing families. It can’t go unpunished, but at the same time, I think you are young enough, that drug court has a place for you.”

Hummel imposed a sentence of six months, agreeing to grant a motion for reduction in sentence after Rice has served six months. After prison, Rice will be placed on home confinement for six months, with GPS monitoring.

Rice was originally indicted by the May 2015 grand jury. He was charged with possession of precursors to manufacture methamphetamines and possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

In another matter, Judge Hummel denied a motion for reduction in sentence for Amanda Long, 30.

Long had been sentenced to two to 10 years in prison on July 15, 2014 for possession of precursors to methamphetamine.

Brett Ferro, Long’s representation, explained to Hummel that the court had agreed to entertain a motion for reduction in sentence at a later date and consider the drug court program. Ferro explained that his client was recently transferred to Charleston Correctional Center and had begun the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) rehabilitation program. Ferro explained that Long seeks early release from prison and had been already evaluated and deemed appropriate for drug court. Ferro said Long would live with her parents, who live near New Martinsville. Ferro said his client would work in the fast food industry “if necessary,” and would be reunited with her daughter.

“She served a significant amount of time, a year and a half . . . she has learned a significant amount of lessons,” Ferro explained.

Long herself explained to Hummel that she was ready to be in a transition.

“I think I deserve a chance to be back in the community. I want to be in a transition. I’ve been in RSAT a month, but I want to be home with my daughter. She just started school. I really believe that if you will release me I can do the program. I want to do the program. I want to live a better life. I deserve it. I feel like I deserve it.”

Prosecutor Haught said he did not oppose Long being in drug court but was concerned about her associates being bad influences.

Hummel questioned Long in regards to the RSAT program. She said she was offered the program. Long further pleaded for the chance to be in the drug court program, stating she deserves it and her family deserves it. She said she’s been on “the outside looking in. I’ve seen all the wrong I’ve done.”

Hummel encouraged Long to complete the RSAT program and denied her motion for reduction in sentence.

In another matter, the charges against Julio Cesar Escamilla were dismissed after Escamilla’s counsel, Kevin Neiswonger, and Prosecutor Haught came to an agreement. Haught explained Escamilla’s charges would be dismissed if restitution in the amount of $2,500 was taken from Escamilla’s cash bond and be forwarded to the victim in the case.

Escamilla was charged by the May 2015 grand jury with two counts of attempted malicious assault. The indictment states that on Nov. 2, 2014, Escamilla attempted to harm another by striking the person’s vehicle with his own as both vehicles were traveling on WV State Route 2 in New Martinsville. A one-day trial was set for July 20.