A Malone woman who was pregnant when arrested for drug dealing in November has been sentenced to two years in state prison.
Lori Muller, 23, of Bruso Road pleaded guilty to third-degree attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance after indictment by a Franklin County grand jury on third-degree criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
She was one of nine arrested during a raid Nov. 10, 2011, by the County Narcotics and Border Task Force. The drug involved in her case was cocaine.
Muller sobbed, her voice wavered, and she looked down at a color photograph of her children Monday as she told County Court Judge Robert G. Main Jr., “I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I know I hurt people.”
She asked that he be lenient in sentencing because she has a baby and 2-year-old at home, “and I don’t want to be taken away from them.”
Muller said she wants to be a positive influence on her children, “but I don’t think I can be that mother hours away. I can change for my sake and for the sake of my children.”
The District Attorney’s Office had agreed to a plea with a prison term not harsher than three years plus two years of post-release supervision, and Public Defender Thomas Soucia asked the judge that his client be sent to County Jail for one year “to allow her to be close to her family.”
He said Muller reminds him of what could have happened in his life if he hadn’t had two parents for support, direction and love.
Soucia said that if the judge could not let her serve time locally, he would recommend Muller for shock incarceration so her successful completion of the intense program could shorten her time in prison.
Main was quiet for several moments as Muller continued to stand before him, crying softly.
“The prospect of sending a 22-year-old mother of two young children to state prison is a daunting prospect,” the judge said.
But, at the same time, “there is extraordinary regret and sadness” that, by looking at Muller’s gradually escalating criminal history since 2001, she “had been proceeding almost deliberately on a path that could’ve been predicted to take her to the counsel table to be sentenced for some type of criminal behavior.”
POOR TRACK RECORD
The judge said Muller was on probation twice before and violated the terms. And she did not complete drug-abuse rehabilitation or other programs offered to her.
And, the judge said, she was smoking marijuana right up to the time of her arrest, even though she was six months pregnant.
Main said “there is a considerable difference” between Muller and Soucia, in that Soucia was dedicated and worked hard to create opportunities for himself to become successful.
“The defendant has done none of that,” the judge said.
Instead of the plea agreement of three years in prison, Main sentenced her to two years, plus three years of post-release supervision.
Muller was also ordered to supply a DNA sample and pay about $500 in assorted fines and surcharges.
The judge said he would not make a recommendation to the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, but was not opposed to it either.
Muller tried to take her children’s photograph with her, holding it as she brought both hands behind her back to be handcuffed.
But the court officer slid the picture out of her hand and handed it to Soucia instead, before taking the sniffling woman out of the courtroom.
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