Advised the resources available for a rural county judge are limited, a local woman received a one-year prison term Wednesday.
Vanessa Anne Ferguson, 25, of Midland, was previously found guilty of possessing chemicals to make meth.
Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck, noting the STAR facility assessed her as unsuitable for their programming due to reported mental health issues, said local options are limited for addressing Ferguson’s multiple issues.
Her attorney, Scott Evans, described her as a “smart young lady” who “appears to have serious mental health issues not being properly addressed or being addressed through self-medicating” which, he said, furthers her legal problems.
“I think Vanessa needs help. I don’t think prison is going to help her or protect the public long-term,” Evans said when he recommended a non-prison sanction.
Pulling information from Ferguson’s presentence investigation report, Rudduck referred to her first using marijuana at the age of 8 and that she had told the court official preparing the report she “likes to manufacture methamphetamine.”
For her part, Ferguson said she is “a drug addict, not a criminal.”
Evans said Ferguson had no prior criminal record and had been close to obtaining a nursing degree.
The defense attorney told the judge he understood the local options “are limited.” Evans asked Rudduck to consider staying the sentence in favor of providing time to assess Ferguson for possible suitability to a women’s recovery regimen “or some type of inpatient program through probation.”
The judge said he will recommend Ferguson serve a risk-reduction sentence in prison which should make her eligible for programming there soon after admittance. Participation in the programming will enable her to reduce her prison term by 20 percent.
Rudduck told her he thinks she “badly needs” the programming.
Her license to drive also was suspended for a year.
Gary Huffenberger can be reached at 937-382-2574 ext. 2512 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.