Sister scheduled for sentencing Aug. 12
The first of two Havre sisters accused of illegally selling marijuana while licensed medical marijuana caregivers was sentenced to three years probation with the chance to clear her record.
Judge David Cybulski sentenced Delaine Fitzpatrick, born in 1977, in state District Court in Havre Wednesday, imposing a three-year deferred imposition of sentence as recommended in the plea agreement Fitzpatrick signed. If she does not violate her conditions of release, after the three years she can request the felonies to which she pleaded guilty be struck from her record.
Her sister, Malisa Fitzpatrick, born in 1982, also pleaded guilty to felony charges under a plea agreement and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 12. The sisters have moved to Billings while awaiting the results of the charges.
Cybulski told Delaine Fitzpatrick that the sentence was reasonable because of her lack of previous felony convictions and because she has good prospects for rehabilitation. If she violated her probation and comes back to court, he would not be so lenient, Cybulski said.
She pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an investigation in 2012, in which she illegally sold marijuana to a confidential informant.
Charges stemming from an investigation in 2010 involving an undercover agent were dropped as part of the plea agreement.
Malisa Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the 2010 investigation, with the deal that the 2012 charges against her would be dropped.
A separate case in which Delaine Fitzpatrick and Garret Briere were charged with illegally possessing 12 pounds of marijuana when the vehicle they were in was pulled over in Oregon was dismissed after a judge excluded evidence from the trial.
Under the medical marijuana laws drafted after voters overwhelmingly passed the proposal in 2004, caregivers could provide limited amounts of marijuana to patients assigned to them.
In the 2010 investigation, the sisters sold marijuana to an undercover agent who had a medical marijuana card, which he had received under an assumed name but not properly filled out and not with the Fitzpatricks as his assigned caregivers. The sisters also sold the agent more marijuana than legally allowed and had much more prepared marijuana and growing plants in their possession than allowed by their number of patients.
In 2011, Judge Julie Macek, the third judge in the case, dismissed the charges, saying the agent had illegally received a false patient card.
The state appealed, and the Supreme Court overturned Macek’s decision, ruling that limited illegal activities by police necessary for crime detection does not violate fundamental fairness or due process.
Cybulski then assumed jurisdiction in the case.
Fitzpatrick and Briere were charged in Oregon while that case was pending in the Superme Court.
While the appeal and the Oregon case were pending, Delaine and Malisa Fitzpatrick were charged again in Havre following an undercover operation using confidential informants working with the Safe Trails Tri-Agency Task Force.
The state arrested and charged the sisters in April 2012, alleging the two illegally sold marijuana, “kief” or hashish, and “spice,” a name for a synthetically made marijuana substitute.
An April 18 search found more than 12.68 pounds of prepared marijuana and 44 marijuana plants, as well as hashish, or kief, and marijuana-infused butter, which the defendants were not registered to possess.
The search also found a handgun, which officers seized, and $36,601.94, which also was seized.
In the plea agreement, Delaine Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to five counts of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs, two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and one count of possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture from the 2012 charges, the gun and cash.
Malisa Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs and one count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute.