A man and woman are going to jail after exposing a baby to methamphetamine often enough that she tested positive for the drug.
On Tuesday morning in Teton County District Court, Judge Timothy Day decided Shawn Michael Myers and Cheyenne Wood committed a crime so heinous that they should each serve six months behind bars and five years on probation.
“An 11-month-old baby depended on her mom for her care and support and welfare, and to expose your child under those circumstances, a defenseless infant, is an outrageous breach of parental responsibility and a true endangerment,” Day said.
Wood and Myers were dating in December 2017 when they were arrested in Teton County for endangering Wood’s 11-month-old baby and for possessing methamphetamine and marijuana.
The baby’s biological father, James Judge, has had temporary full custody since Wood’s arrest.
Judge had tests done at Omega Laboratories that showed the child had high levels of meth and THC in her system.
“Please give [baby] the justice she so desperately deserves,” Judge told the court.
The defendants were tried separately but they received similar plea agreements and their sentencing hearings happened back-to-back Tuesday morning.
After listening to nearly four hours of arguments, Day decided probation alone wasn’t enough.
“Jail time is appropriate,” he said. “There has to be public recognition that this is intolerable conduct. We cannot subject our children to this, especially at that age.”
Wood, 24, of Driggs, Idaho, was sentenced under a plea agreement that defers a felony conviction of child endangerment as long as she successfully completes probation. The jail sentence was for possession, and the time served was left to the discretion of the court.
Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Clark Allan suggested jail time for Myers, 25, also of Driggs, but not for Wood.
“I view this case differently than the last case in that we are trying to rehabilitate and rescue a mother,” Allan said. “[The baby] is going to need her.”
However, Day wasn’t convinced that Wood is taking full responsibility for her actions.
“While I can appreciate Ms. Wood’s expressions of remorse and responsibility, I’m not sure they have been driven home to her,” Day said.
Myers’ statements to an Idaho detective after the arrest were brought up in court and made Day question Wood’s honesty.
Documents stated that Myers admitted to using meth with Wood and “hot boxing” inside their car, before airing it out and then putting the baby in the backseat.
“That seems to describe a pattern of abuse that subjected the baby to drugs over a period of time and on several occasions,” Day said.
Myers told Day that Wood was a heavy meth user and introduced him to the drug.
“I really wanted to get her out of that situation,” Myers said.
But he admitted to using the drug several times with Wood when the baby was present.
Wood, on the other hand, denied ever “hot boxing” and denied smoking meth in a basement where the baby’s nursery was.
“Mr. Myers said you were using while the baby was in your custody and that you were using three to five times a week and that this hot boxing wasn’t a one-time occurrence,” Day told Wood.
“That’s not true,” Wood replied.
Pointing out that Myers had no reason to lie, Day concluded that Wood’s denial signals that she isn’t holding herself accountable.
“I am facing every consequence head-on with a positive attitude,” Wood told the court. “I just want more than anything to be a mother to my daughter.”
Wood and Judge are in the middle of a custody battle in Idaho courts.
Judge and his wife, Stephanie Judge, were happy that Wood got jail time.
“It’s great,” James Judge told the News&Guide.
He told the court that his daughter has developmental disabilities and he believes they’re related to her exposure to hard drugs.
He said it took the child 100 days to detox.
Judge Day allowed Wood to take a few weeks to attend a custody hearing in Idaho and prepare for her jail stay.
She’s supposed to report to the Teton County Jail on July 20 to start her six-month sentence. Her five years of probation begin immediately.
Myers began his sentence Tuesday afternoon at the Teton County Jail.
“I am sorry I made a bad decision but with this I can show you guys I am on the right path,” Myers said in court.