Defendant with 'one helluva addiction' sent back to prison

Woman tells judge: "This has been an embarrassment to my family."
Cary Ashby
Feb 27, 2014


She's heading back to prison.

But her best friend doesn't think imprisonment will help her. She said she thinks an intense, year-long substance abuse treatment center would better suit Stephanie L. (Broz) Cleveland.

"Going to prison isn't going to help her," said Jonelle Cole, also Cleveland's colleague at the Elite School of Cosmetology in Norwalk. "Teen Challenge would be great for her."

Cole said she finds it unfair that other defendants convicted of fifth-degree felonies get county jail time on the work release program while Cleveland won't be able to finish school. First-time felons convicted of fourth- or fifth-degree felonies aren't eligible for prison terms. Cleveland, however, was sentenced in late September 2008 to three years in prison for selling heroin.

"She was doing so well in school," said Cole, the defendant's best friend.

Cleveland received a two-year prison term Wednesday.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said shoplifting from Kohl's in Cuyahoga County doesn't give him any faith Cleveland would succeed under probation. On Dec. 16, the judge revoked the defendant's $20,000 bond due to the theft.

Conway ruled Wednesday a consecutive sentence was necessary to help protect the community. Cleveland received eight months in prison for one count each of trafficking in Suboxone, possession of methadone and possession of heroin. She also must reimburse the Norwalk Police Department $80 to cover the cost of drug testing.

In June 2010, Cleveland was released early from prison into a community-based corrections facility, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education. She completed the CBCF and a 12-step substance abuse program.

Cleveland told the judge that finding her sobriety wasn't easy.

She said she's "highly remorseful" for selling her own prescription.

"This has been an embarrassment to my family. ... They're disappointed by my actions," said Cleveland, who cried while reading her written statement.

The defendant's mother sat with her head down and in her hands in the courtroom after the sentencing hearing. She declined to comment.

"I'm not a monster; I'm an addict," Cleveland said.

On Nov. 21, 2012, Cleveland sold .1 gram of Suboxone to someone for $60. Then, on July 4, 2013, police found a small amount of methadone and heroin in her residence.

In her original drug case, Cleveland was arrested June 5, 2008 when she was returned from Columbus, where she bought 41 balloons, or doses, of heroin. Authorities said she called various people to make delivery arrangements as she returned to Huron County. Cleveland's son, who was 2 months old, was in the car when police made the Benedict Avenue traffic stop.

Cleveland's father and stepmother now have custody of both of her children.

Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler has known Cleveland since the seventh grade when she played volleyball.

"She's a very talented young woman," said Leffler, who recommended a 22-month prison term. "But when she gets to selling drugs ... it becomes a serious problem."

Defense attorney Reese Wineman said there's no doubt his client "has a problem."

"I agree; she has potential," he added. "She has one helluva addiction. ... She needs long-term treatment."

The court ruled Cleveland is a good candidate for the risk-reduction program. That means if she successfully completes an in-house substance abuse program, she could be released from prison after serving 80 percent of her sentence.



Wow! Didnt take long to delete my comment sheesh! Dont put her face in the paper if you dont want comments!


exactly @lynn86. Every word I wrote was 100 percent accurate-which is why it was deleted: The Rejector can't actually print the whole truth-just their version of it.

@HairGirl: guessing you must be a friend of Stephanie's-so, you might have details that Rejector has omitted or just thrown out the window(with any small trace of journalistic integrity that they might have once had). The truth is painful, but hopefully she finally gets the help she needs.

Joe Centers

Your comment was deleted because it was off topic and a personal attack. This story is about Stephanie, not her family. Follow the rules and your comments won't be deleted. Joe


I didnt say anything about her family in my comment....... I said that even though shes a addict, shes also a mother and that should've come first! So if she cant kick her habit, she shouldn't have anymore kids!


I Wil agree that she hopefully gets the help she needs. Unfortunately prison won't do that for her.


Well dont talk bad or make compulsive comments and they won't delete it.


"compulsive" ?


Junkie dealer is where she needs to be. But my question is why is it that all these other ones get light sentences? Do they rat on a lot more people than she did? What's going on here? Give them all lengthy sentences! Clean this town up.


Instead of being so critical and judgemental let god do that. What she's done is no different in gods eyes by you guys all judging her...its all a sin. Get a life.


Look I knew her personally. She is a kind person but I have no sympathy for someone who falls victim to drugs. That is nobody else's fault but her own. Never start doing them and you will never be an addict! ...Or what I call JUNKIES lol


Some people aren't as strong as other's. And it often starts out with a dr writing you a script for pain meds and that's all it takes. Boy if everyone was as strong as you what would you people have to talk about!!!


I have been given pain pills for an injury. But never for one second did it make me want to do heroin or go looking for pills on the streets! Come on, you're running out of excuses for your friend. She made her own bed and now she has to lay in it. If that means "us people" talking about it, SO WHAT! What the hell do you think media does?!

Everyone is fam...

And YOU are judging everyone who has a different opinion than you. And you called me a hypocrite (how, I don't know, but maybe you don't grasp the definition)? Get real.


I do feel bad for any children that have to go through this because it is not their fault. It sounds like her kids are in good hands though.


very unprofessional of prosecutor to say this 2 time loser junkie is a very talented young woman,she must have made a hell of an impression on him in that 7th grade volleyball game


I've felt both great pride and great sadness as I've observed Stephanie's life unfolding. I'll continue to pray for her and I believe that she has what it takes to beat this horrific addiction once and for all. As I read the comments here, I am reminded of why I left Norwalk.


Get a life hairgirl she's no better then the rest of these dirty a$$ junkies around here. She's a snitch and a hypocrite. If she truly was this great person you claim her to be then she would of never got back on heroin. She's a loser plain and simple.


I think it's kind of crappy that the Norwalk Reflector decided it was necessary to use her maiden name in the article. I don't know her or her family, but I certainly recognized the name. It seems like it was just done to shame her family more and that is not's just mean. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised...


Stephanie says she embarrassed her family,I think devastated would is a better word for it,but she has a way with words after she gets caught

Scranton Tibbs

"she help a 98 percent gpa and that's good for hair school." This is by far THE BEST COMMENT OF 2014. Funnier if you say it with a little southern twang. Go ahead, you know you are doing it right now, say it!


The "compulsive comments" post got me. I'm thinking WTF?

Malapros ? Perhaps?




I am a advocate for treatment programs for addicts over prison time, but its hard to convince the judge to give her a program when you have already been given them opportunities in the past, she was released from prison early into a program once all ready. And then when your on bond you get caught stealing to support your habit. Her choices have pretty much left the judges hands tied. She would more then likely have got a program without that theft while on bond..... But what I don't have any respect for is that she tries to get her friends in trouble, to help save her own butt.,, she got in trouble and instead of doing the classy stand up thing, you try your hardest to destroy and ruin everyone else's life in the process. That's unforgivable, ignorant, tacky, disturbing, and for that reason alone I hope she has the hardest stint ever. If she would have handeled this like a stand up woman you would have alot of peoples respect and support, but if you
Want to destroy every bridge and destroy peoples lives, you got what you deserve....... She even tried getting people in trouble that didn't really even sell drugs.. She is a liar, con artist, with severe psychological issues on top of her addiction......... Liar , liar , liar


@WASP71 re: 98% avg. A 98% avg. means that she is accurate in 98% of her work. That has nothing to do with GPA. If you would get a 98% on your test that would mean you had an A not a D as you suggest. If you scored a 98% in your class avg. you would get 4 pts for the GPA not 1 as you suggest.

I suggest you look at the difference between class avg. and GPA before you comment on here.

Her 98% avg. means that of all her grades, they averaged out to 98% which is not a D. GPA is based on points for each class not percentage.


But her friend "hairgirl" - in her reply to me - posted and said it was " 98% GPA ". Unless the friend doesn't know the difference ..or maybe she has a problem with plain English, as she seems to have. The wording she is using is confusing to say the least.


When you are in a college course (school) you go by GPA.. Even in High School and you were looking at a college you DID NOT say "Well now, I was correct 98% of the time". You would state that I graduated with a 3.5 GPA, etc. So obviously this school is not a real college or you're an idiot. I would believe the latter.


Sorry, but before you call someone an idiot you should know my crecentials. I do know about GPA because I work with them every day. I am not a teacher but still have workings with them. I would be willing to test my knowledge against your's any day when it comes to GPA's.


Hahahah...what the h*ll are "crecentials"? Even with spell check on here, you can't get it correct! You just proved you should keep your mouth shut. And hate to tell you, I may not have the Masters, but my "crecentials" are pretty da*n good.. You must run in that 98%!!! HAHAHA..go back and aren't worth my time. Better yet- stick up for some more junkies so we can make fun of you, too! And by the way- every person I hire I ask for GPA. I have never asked for what percent you received for finishing phys ed. So ya, I know about GPA also. I know in the real world looking for real jobs, we ask for GPA. So I suggest you find an application that asks for that and you won't have to worry about working in meaningless places the rest of your life. Have a nice day and come back when you actually know what you're talking about.


Why is it, Wasp, you automatically think that everyone who makes a typo is a junkie. That's been out of character for you , for some time.

Personally, I don't get it. BTW: Spellcheck isn't always 100%, either.


I never called her a junkie...I said she sticks up for junkies..big diff..