Oklahoma Mother Sentenced to 12 Years for $30 of Weed, Gets Court Fees Paid from Anonymous Donors
Selling less than $50 of weed in 2011 meant Oklahoma mother Patricia Spottedcrow’s life was changed forever, and nearly a decade of living in debt and being caught in the cycle of imprisonment followed. But this week Spottedcrow caught a break thanks to a generous public offering.
Nearly a decade ago, Spottedcrow was sentenced to spend a dozen years in prison after a police informant bought a total of $30 worth of weed from her, something she told the Tusla World she did because “I was home on vacation and it was just there, and I thought we could get some extra money.” The sentencing sparked nationwide controversy for the half-Black, half-Native American woman, as she had no prior convictions.
The Washington Post reported that she and her mother, then 50 years old with health issues, pleaded guilty without negotiating a settlement, expecting more leniency than the two-year sentences prosecutors were offering. Spottedcrow’s mother got a suspended sentence of 30 years, but the younger woman was ordered to serve 12 years behind bars.
“I’ve never been in trouble, and this is a real eye-opener,” Spottedcrow, who was visiting her mother with her children in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, when the arrest happened, told the Tulsa World in 2011. “My lifestyle is not like this. I’m not coming back. I’m going to get out of here, be with my kids and live my life.”
Although Gov. Mary Fallin signed off on her parole after Spottedcrow served two years, the mom of six has continued to flounder, News 4 reported. She’s amassed nearly $3,600 in court fees since her 2010 arrest, and her struggle to keep up with mounting payments led her back behind bars Sept. 9.
“I had no idea how I was going to pay this off. I knew I was going to be sitting here for a while,” Spottedcrow tells the news station. “Just this whole ordeal and process is exhausting.”
Once word spread of Spottedcrow’s hefty court fees, residents in Oklahoma — where there are more medical marijuana licenses per capita than any other state in the U.S. since the state legalized medicinal use for the substance — began overwhelming the Kingfisher County Court Clerk’s Office with calls wanting to cover Spottedcrow’s fees. The number was tweeted by News 4 anchor Ali Meyer, and the Kingfisher County Court Clerk confirmed to the outlet that seven people paid for the outstanding costs.
“Thank you,” Spottedcrow told the station. “Thank you to everyone for that, ’cause I don’t know how I was going to do it.” She added the generosity from the public is “amazing.”
“It feels wonderful. I don’t even know what to say. It just feels really good. I feel like I hit the lotto,” Spottedcrow remarked. Meanwhile, folks online have been celebrating the moment. “AWESOME!”