MIAMI COUNTY —Citing the court’s “many, many graces,” Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt issued a nationwide warrant for West Chester attorney Lisa Wells for failure to appear for an in-lieu of conviction violation hearing on Thursday.
According to Wells’ attorney Jon Saia, Wells was admitted to the Glenbeigh treatment facility on Wednesday to seek treatment for drug addiction.
Pratt said she was “sympathetic” of Wells’ struggle with addiction, but said she found it was “somewhat convenient she chose this time to undergo inpatient when she was served in jail with this date knowing this was going to be a priority.”
Pratt noted one of Wells’ conditions of her treatment in-lieu of conviction (ILC) was to abstain from all drugs and alcohol. Wells violated her ILC conditions after testing positive for opiates, marijuana and cocaine on Aug. 27. She was incarcerated for three days for the parole violation at the Miami County Incarceration Facility.
“She didn’t go that route,” she said. “So I think it’s just a little too convenient that she’s not here today and the timing of it. This court has provided her many, many graces — many, many graces — and has been very patient.”
Pratt said the hearing needed to “progress” and Wells was to appear before the court. Pratt then issued a nationwide warrant for Wells failure to appear and denied the request for a continuance.
Saia attended the hearing on behalf of Wells and requested the continuance of the hearing due to Wells being currently hospitalized at a Glenbeigh Hospital. The facility specializes in drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Saia said Wells checked into the hospital on Wednesday at the direction of the medical director. Saia said the director of the Ohio’s Lawyers Assistance Program (OLAP) recommended Wells seek treatment at the facility. He said there was no discharge date.
Pratt asked if the treatment facility was a voluntary act for Wells, which Saia was not able to affirm or deny. Saia said he felt it was a life-saving measure for Wells, as well as her first step to begin her compliance with OLAP, which was part of her initial ILC conditions. Saia claimed Wells had used drugs one or two days prior to last week’s hearing, despite the fact she knew a drug test would likely be requested.
“Something in her head, something in her brain, caused her to use, and I don’t think that this is a voluntary situation involving Miss Wells,” Saia said. “I think this is something that is a medical condition, a diagnosable medical condition, that is being treated in a hospital.” Saia again asked the court for a continuance, which Pratt later denied.
Saia said it was his first goal to save Wells’ life, then to keep her out of jail and to keep her license to practice law. Saia said it was a “no-win” situation for his client and they know where she’s is located and was getting help in the medical facility. Saia said he could have a notification sent to the court once she’s released from the hospital and for her to appear within 24 hours to attend the hearing.
Saia said he worked on getting Wells in compliance with the ILC sanction to enroll OLAP last weekend. Part of her ILC conditions was to provide the court proof of that enrollment, which would denote her chemical dependency. The court requested to be notified by letter. Enrolling in the OLAP program was one condition Wells failed to comply with as part of her ILC conditions during the past two years of ILC. OLAP provides assistance for lawyers with drug and alcohol abuse and recovery options. She also was ordered to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
On July 26, Pratt issued a warrant for Wells after she failed to appear for a show cause hearing. That warrant was later recalled.
Pratt granted the former 700 AM-WLW radio personality and legal analyst treatment in lieu of conviction in April 2017 for a two-year period.
Wells entered a plea of guilty to four counts of fifth-degree felony aggravated drug possession and OVI in April 2017.
In November 2016, Wells was re-indicted by a grand jury on the charges stemming from a traffic stop in January 2016 by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
An Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper conducted a traffic stop on Wells on Jan. 25, 2016, on Interstate-75 near Piqua for expired registration. According to court records, the trooper also noted that Wells was weaving in her lane and even crossing the lines on each side of her lane. The trooper reportedly saw pills in plain view before searching the vehicle. The trooper seized oxycodone, alprazolam (also known as Xanax), amphetamine, and dextroamphetamine.
Wells is an attorney and former radio personality from West Chester and was a frequent call-in guest on the Bill Cunningham Show on 700 AM-WLW.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com
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