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Judge sentences woman who says she was badgered into selling drugs

Of 95 communications, 64 were initiated by informant

August 18, 2010|By DON AINES

A woman who claimed she was badgered into selling cocaine to an informant was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court to 2 1/2 years in prison after records of 95 calls, voice-mails and text messages between the informant and the woman were reviewed in court.

"The phone calls, they're not as one-sided as you first indicated," Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley said before sentencing Lisa Sue Rhodes for distribution of cocaine. "I can't say we're looking at a case of entrapment."

Of the 95 communications between Jan. 11 and 14, 64 were initiated by the informant and 31 by Rhodes, according to Edward Button, Rhodes' attorney.

Rhodes, 46, of 401 Highland Ave., Apt. 302, pleaded guilty May 27 to distribution of cocaine. In exchange for the plea, charges of possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of clonazepam were dismissed, court records show.

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During her July 13 sentencing hearing before Beachley, Rhodes said she had received numerous calls from the Washington County Narcotics Task Force informant and got him the cocaine to get rid of him. Beachley postponed sentencing to give Rhodes and the state time to produce phone records.

"It was like, 'Oh my God, get him off my back,'" Rhodes told Beachley on Tuesday.

"What was asserted to the court at that time was not true," Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler said of the 31 calls Rhodes made to the informant during the four-day period.

Rhodes was able to get the cocaine, arrange the transaction, move to another location in an attempt to avoid being followed and motioned for the informant to be silent during the sale in case there was electronic surveillance, Pauler said.

As far as the number of calls, Pauler said confidential narcotics informants often "mimic what an addict does" and large numbers of phone calls are not unusual. The state recommended four years in prison for Rhodes, the usual recommendation for a first-time distribution conviction, Pauler said.

Button told Beachley that Rhodes had no previous criminal record. Rhodes said she came to know the informant through his girlfriend.

"You lived 46 years crime-free ... but we can't have people out dealing drugs," said Beachley, who gave Rhodes a seven-year sentence and suspended 4 1/2 of those years.

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