A Portage woman was ordered at a sentencing hearing Wednesday to spend just over a month in jail before starting four years of probation after walking into a drug investigation.
Lannenus Hutchins, 22, appeared in Columbia County Circuit Court for sentencing on three cases from 2016 and 2017. In the first she was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in November 2016. In August, Hutchins was charged with domestic disorderly conduct bail jumping, and in November, with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
Hutchins has been in Columbia County Jail, where she has been held since her arrest over Thanksgiving weekend.
District Attorney Jane Kohlwey on Wednesday laid out a proposal in which Hutchins would be given a withheld sentence and placed on four years of probation following 90 days of conditional jail time. She has already served 44 days.
“In addition to the time in jail that she has already spent, she is about to start four months of intensive inpatient programming,” said defense attorney Mark Lawton. “She has two young children and she has to get this under control, and she understands that. “
In her most recent case, Hutchins was arrested in the midst of a separate criminal investigation in which Portage police officers were searching an apartment following the arrest of Joseph Rott Jr., 36, of Portage, who was allegedly involved in a fight after a marijuana sale went wrong with a buyer using fake bills. While police were at the apartment, Hutchins knocked on the door looking for a woman who lived there.
Police searched Hutchins, finding cocaine wrapped in paper, hidden in a pack of cigarillos.
“I’m sorry for my actions and I’m looking forward to starting over,” said Hutchins in court Wednesday. “And I do apologize.”
“I really hope that you are able to take advantage of the opportunity that appears to be ahead of you, because I can tell you with some measure of certainty, you’re not a very good criminal,” said Judge W. Andrew Voigt, eliciting a laugh from Hutchins. “You keep getting caught, and you keep wandering into situations where you are essentially volunteering to be arrested. So hopefully you can be put on a little bit more productive path,” said Voigt.
“Yeah, I’m working for it,” said Hutchins.
If she fails to follow through with requirements of probation or if she is arrested on new charges, Hutchins would face re-sentencing for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, which carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison.
“There is a lot of time available to me to impose, frankly, a substantial prison term for this, and I would rather not do that and I presume that you and your children would prefer I not do that,” said Voigt, clarifying the gravity of Hutchins not having her probation revoked. “It would be OK if we don’t have to talk about this again.”