Woman tests positive for meth, gets 5 years in jail

LIHUE — A Kapaa woman was sentenced to five years in jail Tuesday after a Kauai judge said she had too many chances when she tested positive again for methamphetamine while out on probation.

Michelle Ann Preston, 52, appeared before Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe to hear allegations in two cases in which the state said she violated her HOPE probation.

Watanabe told Preston she agreed with the prosecutor about Preston being openly defiant in court and to her probation officers.

“You started out with general probation and that didn’t work out. You got placed in HOPE probation,” Watanabe said. “The idea would be that they would more closely monitor you and that you be sanctioned immediately for any violations. The whole concept behind HOPE probation is behavior modification and frankly Ms. Preston, I don’t believe it has worked on you. I just don’t see it. I have to agree with the statements made by Ms. Vogt that you have been openly defiant. A lot of resources have been expended on you to assist you. There just seems to be nothing that you’re responding to.”

Preston was resentenced to one year in the family abuse case and five years in jail for her drug case.

Before the sentencing, Preston told the court she was wanted to see her two grandchildren grow up.

“I’d like another chance myself,” Preston said. “I said I’m too old for this. I want to watch my grandkids get older. And your honor, I would like another chance.”

On Dec. 28, she tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine, but denied having taken any drugs, according to court testimony.

The drug test was sent to a lab for further testing and after confirmation, the state filed a motion for modification or revocation of Preston’s probation, records said.

On Tuesday, Preston admitted to the allegation after Watanabe asked her about it in open court. She also admitted to missing scheduled meetings.

Her attorneys said she realized she needed help, admitted to the violations and asked the court to treat the violations as modifications and not a revocation of her probation.

“She is trying to be more productive and change her life,” said defense attorney James Tagupa.

Public Defender Stephanie Sato said Preston had an abrasive personality, but noted that Preston wanted to comply with her HOPE probation.

“We are asking this court to give her a chance,” Preston said. “Now that she gets it, give her a chance to comply with the requirements of HOPE probation. If it’s a last shot, it’s a last shot.”

Second deputy prosecuting attorney Rebecca Vogt said that Preston’s attitude had been “terrible throughout the entire process” she’d been on probation and she refused to cooperate.

Vogt said the only appropriate sentence would be the open term of five years and one year concurrent in the family abuse case.

Preston has violated the terms of her probation before.

In the drugs case, she violated her probation in September 2015 and received seven days in jail. In October, she received 16 hours of community service. Again in October, she received 30 days in jail just one week later.

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