A federal judge has denied a Williamsburg pharmacist’s request to be released from jail as she awaits sentencing on charges of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances and dispensing controlled substances to patients outside the scope of professional practice.
Kimberly Jones, 53, who owned and operated Kim’s Hometown Pharmacy, was taken into custody following her conviction in U.S. District Court in London on Feb. 7.
She was lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center pending her formal sentencing on June 11 as required by federal law.
In a motion filed Feb. 12 on Jones’ behalf, attorney Ned Pillersdorf asked the court to release her from custody, noting that she had fully complied with the conditions of release while awaiting trial, specifically appearing in court as required throughout the legal process and reporting to the U.S. Probation Office in London.
Pillersdorf argued in the motion that Jones, who was tried on 37 charges, was found guilty of seven counts.
According to testimony at the trial, which lasted eight days, Jones repeatedly filled prescriptions for significant quantities of Oxycodone and other controlled substances from a variety of out-of-state doctors.
The customers were area patients who had travelled as far as Boca Raton, Florida, near Miami, to secure the prescriptions. The evidence also established that Jones dispensed controlled substances to certain customers who did not have valid prescriptions at the time Jones dispensed the medications.
In addition, Pillersdorf noted that Jones has a seven-year-old adopted daughter.
In an affidavit in support of the motion, Jones’ niece, Amanda Bingham, stated that Jones is also responsible for the care of Jones’ five-year-old granddaughter, and that there is no one available to take care of them.
In responding to the motion, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Smith, explained that Jones has the legal burden to prove to the court that she is neither a flight risk nor poses a danger to the safety of the community should she be released.
“Other than noting that she has been compliant with the conditions of her pretrial release, Jones does not offer any evidence to carry this burden,” Smith stated.
In addition, Smith noted that Jones’ need to care for her minor relatives is not unusual in a criminal case.
“As such, this court and a number of others have held that disruption to childcare and other personal affairs does not constitute an ‘exceptional reason’ for release under (federal law).”
Finally, Smith stated that the sentence Jones receives is unlikely to be less than the four months that she would be held in custody until her sentencing, meaning she will likely not serve more time than what her final sentence requires.
“In sum, detention is mandatory in this case and Jones has not clearly shown that there are exceptional reasons for her release under (federal law),” Smith stated.
In denying Jones’ motion, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory VanTatenhove agreed that even if Jones were not a flight risk, she had not met the legal requirement to show exceptional circumstances that would warrant her release.
VanTatenhove also agreed with the United States’ argument that given the nature of the charges on which Jones was convicted, she is highly unlikely to serve more than the final sentence by the time she is formally sentenced.
“Ms. Jones has failed to show that exceptional circumstances warrant her release from detention pending sentencing,” VanTatenhove stated in denying the motion.