When Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow sold $31 worth of marijuana to a police informant, she never expected to find herself in prison at all—let alone for 10 years. Spottedcrow and her mother, Delita Starr, were caught selling to the same informant from Starr’s house on two separate occasions. Though they were offered plea deals of two years in prison, they decided to enter a guilty plea before a judge, hoping the small drug amounts and lack of prior convictions would help them. But the twist, which likely resulted in the long sentence, was that Spottedcrow’s children were in the house; her 9-year-old son handed his grandmother dollar bills to help make change.
“When kids are involved, it's different,” the judge on the case explains to the Oklahoman. As a result of her sentence, Spottedcrow has been separated from her common-law husband and four children, ages 9, 4, 3, and 1, and will likely not be able to continue her work in nursing homes when she is released. Spottedcrow’s mother received a suspended sentence with no incarceration, and the judge says she considers the sentences “lenient. By not putting the grandmother in prison, she is able to help take care of the children.” (Read more Oklahoma stories.)