REXBURG — The daughter of a criminal defense attorney, now a seven-time felon, faces up to 12 years in prison following her sentencing Monday. The Madison Prosecutor’s office charged the defendant with felony drug possession and felony forgery committed from Idaho Falls to Rexburg.
Cynthia Powell and her attorney, Joshua Garner, met before Seventh District Court Judge Steven Boyce where Powell pleaded guilty to meth possession and forgery felony charges. Powell did so in exchange for the state dropping misdemeanor drug paraphernalia charges and in exchange for the Jefferson County Court for dropping similar charges.
Madison County Prosecutor Sid Brown asked Boyce to sentence Powell to two years determinant and three years indeterminate on the felony meth possession charges. He also asked that Boyce sentence Powell to four years determinant and eight years indeterminate on the forgery charges. Brown also requested that the two sentences run concurrent but consecutive to the Bonneville County charges.
“Look at the file review. The pre-sentence report talks about the sequence of events and the crime. It shows that last January, the defendant was arrested for felony possession in Bonneville,” Brown said. “She had bonded out on pretrial services in Bonneville and was out committing new crimes in Bonneville – the crime of forgery. She was arrested again in September last year for forgery.”
Brown noted that pre-sentencing reports showed that in January, Powell was arrested for another felony possession charge. After being released, she tested positive for meth and morphine the following month. Again in February, Brown reported that Powell committed felony drug possession and forgery.
“She’s just not getting it. She’s not stopping. She’s awaiting trial on multiple felony charges and is continuing to commit crimes. Not just drug crimes but forgery (in) the same scheme she was arrested on before. We think her felony record with two felony convictions — this will make seven felonies,” he said.
Following Brown’s statement, Garner spoke saying that he agreed with some of Brown’s recommendations, but didn’t want the court to consider the consecutive sentencing Brown suggested.
“I think there is a good basis for a concurrent basis with Bonneville. We have anticipated that. These crimes occurred at similar times, and they’re all very similar — forgeries and possessions. The addiction is connected to the forgery (in) trying to gain money and different things to help feed the addiction,” Garner said.
Garner pointed out that the crimes happened in Madison, Jefferson and Bonneville Counties. He told Judge Boyce that Jefferson County officials agreed to drop the charges in exchange for the Madison County plea deal. Garner also reported that he was in discussions with Bonneville County to review Powell’s charges there as well.
In those cases, Bonneville County court sentenced Powell to one year fixed, four years indeterminate for possession and one-year fixed and five years indeterminate and one year fixed, five years indeterminate on a subsequent felony, Garner said.
He also reported that pre-sentencing reports initially suggested sending Powell on a rider. Such sentences may be as much as a year where defendants spend the time undergoing intensive drug treatment.
Garner reported that had it not been for the Powell’s recent Madison County charges, Bonneville might have sent her on the rider. As Powell’s Madison County crimes were similar to that of her charges in Bonneville County, Garner asked Boyce to sentence her likewise.
“We believe it’s appropriate in this case to follow what’s been done in Bonneville and issue in both cases, a one-year fixed and four-year indeterminate in possession and a one-year fixed and five-year indeterminate on the forgery,” he said. “Let those run concurrent with Bonneville. I believe Cynthia is entitled to credit for the time she served. She’s been in custody since January.”
Garner pointed out that the driving force in Powell’s case was her addiction issue.
“It’s very clear that Miss Powell is an addict, and she’ll tell you that. She’s not proud of that,” Garner said.
Garner reported that Powell had stayed clean for a decade prior to her recent convictions. She started using again after suffering some devastating events in her life.
“She began using again and was in the grips of addiction. While in the grips of addiction, she started making really poor choices,” he said.
Garner noted that Powell had taken the opportunity to turn her life around by taking Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints addiction classes while incarcerated.
“She did complete the 12 classes from the LDS recovery program. I have the certificate here,” he said.
The court also gave Powell a chance to speak.
“My father was a criminal defense attorney, and I worked for him a lot of years. I was sober for 10 years, got married and got a bachelor degree,” she said. “Things happened and my marriage ended. There was a death in the family. I lost my job – (it was) one thing after another. I guess I didn’t have the right coping skills.”
Powell also apologized to the court.
“There is no excuse for my behavior. This is a new start for me,” she said.
Boyce then sentenced Powell to three years fixed plus four years indeterminate in the forgery case that will run concurrent with the Bonneville County case. He also sentenced her to one year fixed and four years indeterminate for the drug possession case that will run concurrent to the forgery case.
The Judge pointed out that he had listened to the comments from both parties and had noted the Bonneville County sentence. He was also aware of the three felonies Bonneville charged Powell with.
Boyce pointed out that Powell had committed additional crimes while on presentence release.
“The investigator was frustrated, Miss Powell, that you didn’t show up on time and didn’t have paperwork ready. You didn’t seem to take that much responsibility at the time. You were still probably dealing with addiction issues then,” he said.
Boyce also noted that Powell had committed a series of crimes from Idaho Falls to Rexburg.
“The court does consider there is the additional forgery charges, and what’s happened up and down the valley from Idaho Falls to Rexburg. It’s not only the addiction, but a pattern of behavior that has victimized other people,” he said.
Boyce gave Powell credit for time served and ordered that she pay various court costs, pay restitution and provide for the victim’s relief fund.