Heroin defendant 'not off the hook,' but released from jail

Cary Ashby • Aug 21, 2013 at 5:07 PM

A judge hopes the jail time for a Willard woman convicted of attempting to swallow pills during a police investigation will be a sufficient "wake-up call" for her.

Former Norwalk resident Justina M. Hall, 26, appeared in Huron County Common Pleas Court for a brief probation violation hearing Monday. Judge Jim Conway revoked her bond in late July when she stipulated there was probable cause for violating her community control sanctions.

Hall was accused of testing positive for opiates and failing to report in for her probation office visits. She earlier was discharged from the Worth Center, a substance abuse treatment center.

"This was her first positive test," probation officer Andrea Cooke told the judge in July. "(She's been) struggling big time with her heroin addiction."

During Monday's hearing, Conway warned Hall the probation violation wouldn't be dismissed, but said the state could do so if she followed the terms of her community control sanctions. There will be a hearing scheduled for about three months from now.

"This is a second chance. You're not off the hook," Conway told the defendant.

"I appreciate it," said Hall, who was released on a personal recognizance bond.

A heroin-related case is why she is on three years of probation.

In October, Hall pleaded guilty to attempted tampering with evidence. A passing driver reported seeing Hall on the steps of a Milan Avenue Norwalk mobile home park office, sitting with a syringe to her arm Sept. 1.

"(Norwalk police) found Ms. Hall in an intoxicated condition," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler told the judge earlier. "Her purse was brought out. She tried to lunge for some pills and tried to swallow them."

On Dec. 12, Hall was ordered to spend four to six months in a community-based corrections facility, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education. She also was fined $250.

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