Woman sent to prison for drug possession

March 10, 2015

Rachelle Joyce Fitch, left, with her attorney, David Glancy.

By Allison Scarbrough. Contributing Editor.

LUDINGTON — Following her tearful testimony, a 42-year-old Scottville woman was sentenced to 366 days to 15 years in prison for possession of clonazepam and morphine in 51st Circuit Court Tuesday, March 10.

Rachelle Joyce Fitch’s prison sentences are concurrent to each other but consecutive to a parole violation sentence since she was on parole when she committed the crimes, 51st Circuit Court Judge Susan Sniegowski said. Fitch possessed clonazepam and morphine last summer in the Mason County Jail.

Fitch’s criminal history “is replete with instances of controlled substance violations dating back to 2002,” Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola said, including six prior felonies and 10 misdemeanors. “The defendant has a long controlled substance history going back at least 20 years. She been struggling with addiction and been to prison on a number of occasions.”

“Unfortunately, the system has failed her on numerous occasions,” stated Fitch’s attorney, David Glancy. “She has never been offered substance abuse treatment in prison. She needs significant inpatient treatment.”

Glancy said he has been in contact with a treatment program that would take her in for free and asked Sniegowski if she could be sent to the inpatient facility instead of prison. “If she’s unsuccessful, there’s always the chance of incarceration,” he added.

Glancy said his client has never gotten the substance abuse treatment she desperately needs while in prison. “She’ll just be back (in court) after she’s done with prison,” he said.

“I have had a substance abuse problem most of my life,” said a tearful Fitch. “I have nothing.”

“I do believe that treatment would be beneficial,” Sniegowski said, “but I think the only way you can stay clean is by being incarcerated.”

Fitch received no credit for her time served in jail, because it’s a parole offense.

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