Woman loses pre-trial diversion

Joe P. Asher Staff Writer

November 25, 2013

A Cumberland woman has found herself headed to prison after her pre-trial diversion probation was revoked Thursday in Harlan Circuit Court.

Patricia Landers Ritchie, 53, was arrested by Cumberland Police Sgt. Dale Halcomb on Nov. 11 for violating probation.

Ritchie was represented in court by Laura Karem of the public defender’s office.

Special Judge Steve Hurt presided over the hearing. Commonwealth’s Attorney Parker Boggs handled the case for the state.

Boggs called Probation and Parole Officer Doretta Couch to the stand.

Couch testified that Ritchie absconded from her probation and had not reported to probation and parole for several months. When Boggs asked for her recommendation, Couch recommended Ritchie’s probation be revoked.

Karem called Ritchie to testify on her own behalf.

Ritchie claimed during her testimony that she violated her probation because she was denied entry into the Hope Center, a rehabilitation facility. Ritchie was to spend a period of time at the rehabilitation facility as a condition of her probation.

According to Ritchie, she was denied entry because her daughter was already in the same facility.

Ritchie testified she contacted the Hope Center repeatedly, but no bed ever opened for her.

Boggs pointed out Ritchie did not comply with the terms of her probation, and did not keep in contact with her probation officer.

Boggs called Couch back to the stand to ask the probation and parole officer about her contact with Ritchie. Couch testified she had not heard from her since Ritchie left the Hope Center.

Hurt ruled in favor of the state, revoking Ritchie’s probation.

“For whatever reason, I don’t think you took it seriously enough,” said Hurt before finding in favor of the motion to set aside Ritchie’s pre-trial diversion.

Ritchie faces two years in prison at her sentencing on two counts of first-degree trafficking a controlled substance. Sentencing is set for Dec. 19.

In other court activity:

* Donnie Davenport, 47, of Baxter, failed to appear at a probation revocation hearing. A bench warrant was issued and the state’s motion to set aside Davenport’s pre-trial diversion was granted by the court;

* George Rice, 47, of Putney, was sentenced to a total of three years in prison on two counts of first-degree trafficking following the revocation of his probation.

Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, jasher@civitsmedia.com