Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne on Wednesday called what Anna Boyle did in September the "epitome of bad parenting" and then sentenced her to six months in the county jail.
Before he handed down the sentence, Wynne read to Boyle the conditions of the court order that prohibits her from seeing or contacting her children. The order is valid until 2017.
After Boyle was arrested, her children, ages 5, 7 and 8, were removed and placed with relatives.
Boyle, 28, could earn the chance to see her children sooner if she meets the requirements established by the dependency court. She also could eventually regain custody of her children. Boyle likely will need to undergo drug treatment, parenting classes and mental health counseling.
Boyle pleaded guilty last month to http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20121016/NEWS01/710169952/0/SEARCH
">drug possession and unlawful imprisonment in connection with the Sept. 23 traffic stop. She faced a maximum of eight months in jail.
Prosecutors agreed to recommend a mid-range sentence because of Boyle's lack of criminal history and her willingness to plead guilty.
Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Jarett Goodkin said that the standard range sentence didn't necessarily reflect the seriousness of the crime.
"Ms. Boyle placed her children's lives in danger," Goodkin said.
Boyle was driving 17 mph over the speed limit on I-405 as her three children were wedged in the trunk with the family dog, court papers said. A guitar and snowboard were in the back seat.
A Washington State Patrol trooper stopped the speeding car. Boyle smelled of marijuana and admitted that she'd smoked some weed earlier in the day. The trooper later found heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana in the car along with drug paraphernalia.
While the trooper was searching the car, he heard pounding from inside. Boyle finally admitted that her kids were in the trunk. That was more than 30 minutes after she was stopped, Goodkin said.
She said the children crawled inside the trunk from the back seat while she was driving. Troopers didn't buy Boyle's story. There wasn't enough room in the back seat for them.
One child later told investigators that they had been placed in the trunk more than once. Another child said they were told to get in the trunk so they wouldn't damage the snowboard and guitar.
Goodkin told the judge on Wednesday that the children's hair tested positive for drug exposure.
The woman's attorney Gurjit Pandher said that Boyle's main objective is to win back custody of her children. She plans to get help for substance abuse.
"I'm sorry for all this," Boyle said. "I've learned my lesson."
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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