A Leavenworth woman who left her baby alone in an alley has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for drug charges.
Elizabeth A. Michaud was sentenced Friday in Leavenworth County District Court to 28 months in prison for charges of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone. The crimes occurred in April in Leavenworth. The charges were filed in separate cases.
Michaud pleaded no contest to the charges May 1. At that time, she also pleaded no contest to aggravated endangering a child.
The endangering a child charge stemmed from her then 7-week-old son being left alone in a stroller in an alley May 3, 2012, in Leavenworth.
Last month, Michaud was sentenced to 60 days in jail and a year of probation for the endangering a child charge.
She also sought probation with drug treatment for the two drug charges.
Defense attorney KiAnn McBratney requested that Friday's sentencing for the two drug charges be continued. McBratney said arrangements had been made for Michaud to enter an inpatient treatment program July 1.
McBratney said having her client successfully complete the program would help her make the strongest argument for probation.
Assistant County Attorney Cheryl Marquardt, who argued for a prison sentence, said she wasn't opposed to such a continuance. But the prosecutor requested that Michaud be required to return to the custody of the Leavenworth County Jail if she left the treatment program for any reason.
District Judge Gunnar Sundby left the courtroom before making his ruling on the request for a continuance.
When he returned, Sundby announced he was denying the motion. The judge noted he had recently granted probation for the endangering a child case because this was the presumptive sentence under state guidelines. He said the 60-day jail sanction he also ordered to be served was the most punitive sentence he could impose in that case.
Sundby said when reviewing Michaud's history, he saw many attempts to involve the defendant in treatment and she failed in all of them.
He said it would appear that allowing Michaud into the inpatient treatment program would be just going through the motions.
"It is not going to be effective," he said.
The judge then proceeded with sentencing, and McBratney argued for probation for her client.
When given the opportunity to speak in the possession of methamphetamine case, Michaud acknowledged she had been given earlier opportunities for treatment. But she argued she initially didn't have transportation to treatment programs.
She eventually got into a program but left after being told one of her children was in a serious accident.
Page 2 of 2 - "I was confused and emotionally distraught," she said.
Michaud said she is a good person.
"I'm trying to change my life for the better," she said.
She told the judge she doesn't want to lose her children.
"I love them with all my heart," she said.
Michaud asked Sundby to give her one more chance at treatment.
Sundby said the methamphetamine case was considered a "border box" case under state sentencing guidelines. He said this means he could sentence the defendant to probation if he found a treatment program likely would be more effective at reducing recidivism and the program would be available within a reasonable period of time.
The judge said a treatment program does exist but it wouldn't be effective.
He sentenced her to 28 months for the methamphetamine charge.
After learning the sentence, Michaud asked to address the judge again.
Michaud said she had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and she tried working with someone at the Guidance Center to get back into treatment.
"It's not really fair your honor," she said of being sentenced to prison.
Sundby proceeded to the sentencing for the other case.
When given the opportunity to speak in this case, Michaud said she had learned from her mistakes. She said she will lose her children if she goes to prison.
"I really, really want and really need to be in treatment," she said.
She also said drugs found in her purse had been put there by someone else.
Attorney Elaine Halley, who represented Michaud in the child endangerment case, also made a plea for probation. The attorney asked that Michaud be given one more chance for treatment before she loses her children. Halley said Michaud has had time to get clean while she's been in jail.
Sundby imposed a 28-month sentence for the oxycodone charge. But he ordered the sentences in the two drug cases to run concurrent. This means Michaud will serve them at the same time.
"This is not fair," Michaud said.
She asked why she was going to prison.
Sundby said this would give her two years of forced sobriety.