Schenectady drug defendant squirms but comes clean in court
Judge demands truthful account
A woman who police say had a history of lying got caught in open court Friday and was forced to tell the truth, despite her tears.
Jakia Campbell, 40, of Schenectady, had previously sworn under oath that she had intended to sell a bag of Ecstasy pills.
She accepted a deal: Plead guilty to possession, rather than attempt-to-sell, and take a sentence of probation. But when Campbell described her crime to probation officers during a routine presentencing interview, she decided to tell a different story.
She said she had the Ecstasy pills for personal use. She never mentioned intent to sell them.
When Judge Karen Drago saw that report, she demanded that Campbell tell the truth. On Friday, Drago told Campbell’s attorney, Debra Slack-Bean, that Campbell had to admit she was going to sell the pills. If she did not, Drago would void the plea deal and Campbell would face penalties much more serious than probation.
As Slack-Bean explained her options in a harsh whisper, Campbell shook her head again and again. She had pleaded guilty only to possession, she said. She didn’t want to say what she would have done with the pills.
“You have a choice,” Slack-Bean told her. “You either reaffirm you were going to sell those drugs, or your plea is gone, your probation is gone.”
Campbell broke down in tears, shaking her head. But finally, she lifted her right hand and swore that she had intended to sell the Ecstasy pills. She swore that she had not been “as thorough” as she should have in describing the incident to the probation officers.
According to police, Friday’s incident wasn’t the first time Campbell lied.
She allegedly tried to hide the Ecstasy pills in a police car, claiming they weren’t hers.
Police found the pills crushed on the floor of the car after she was placed there for an alleged shoplifting offense.
She also allegedly misstated her daughter’s income on an application for housing assistance.