Thursday, October 11, 2007

Alabama "Meth Judge" Sentenced to 12 Years

From the Montgomery Advertiser

Oct 11, 12:29 PM EDT

Former Ala. judge sentenced to 12 years in meth case in Miss.

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) -- A former west Alabama judge who pleaded guilty to methamphetamine charges was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment Wednesday after describing how his addictions spiraled out of control.

Ira D. Colvin, who was arrested last year in Mississippi, was immediately taken into custody.

The former district judge must serve five years of supervised release after finishing his prison term, said prosecutor Rhonda Hayes-Ellis.

"Meth is a terrible drug, and it has terrible effects on everyone involved," Hayes-Ellis said outside court. "It's certainly unfortunate."

Colvin was appointed to the judgeship in 2002, and he was removed from the bench after being charged. He still faces drug charges in Alabama, where authorities said meth was found in his office in Carrollton following his arrest.

During a three-hour sentencing hearing, Colvin described how he became addicted first to alcohol, then prescription medication and finally methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty to possessing precursors used to make the drug.

A woman who was arrested with Colvin, Ashley Watkins of Gordo, Ala., pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Colvin. She awaits sentencing. Hayes-Ellis said Colvin claimed he paid Watkins to go to stores and purchase drug ingredients for him.

Colvin's wife, Christy Dawn Colvin, was arrested in Columbus on a similar charge only four months before his arrest. Her initial possession of meth charge was reduced to possession of a controlled substance in exchange for a guilty plea. She was given a six-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to complete drug rehabilitation.

Colvin was indicted in May 2004 on federal bankruptcy fraud charges alleging he hid $25,000 in assets for a client in 2001 while still working as a private attorney. The charges were dropped after Colvin apologized, and he won a term as district judge in November 2004.

I've covered this story since it broke back in August 2006. My initial reaction was that the proverbial book should be thrown at Judge Ira Colvin. I was also very curious to know what his record was when sentencing drug defendants who came before him. That information is difficult to come by so I still do not know what his record was. Even so I feel kind of bad for the guy. Addiction is addiction be it the town drunk or the sitting judge and prison is no place to heal or put one's life back together.


Bitter Old Punk said...

So his addictive spiral consisted of alcohol (legal) and then prescription drugs (legal), before he got hooked on phonics, erm, meth? Interesting. Obviously the answer is to ban alcohol and prescription drugs, since they lead to addiction.

Oh, wait....

Dennis said...

Twelve years? Big deal, he'll be out in no time. In the mean time, meth is available in prison. They actually did him a favor.

The Alcoholics said...

I was fortuned the opportunity to be inspired by Ira @ a long-term substance abuse residential recovery residence. I knew Ira as a compassionate articulate human. I had heard him called Judge Meth before, but tonight upon reading this articles's titular moniker I was appalled. Politics played a huge part in his sentencing. He told me how he would preside over addicted individuals in his courtroom. He wanted to help them, if they sought help. He himself is seeking help. He remains in my prayers. I judge not lest I condemn myself.

Anonymous said...

I personally have known "Bennie" as we called him at home. He is a wonderful man who has an addiction problem. Having experienced addiction in my own family, it is easier for me to understand. I just pray for him every day and I know he will come out okay. He has helped so many people in his life!