A woman who left her toddler daughter unattended while she bought drugs two months ago was assured yesterday by a Lucas County judge that if she addresses her drug addiction while incarcerated, she can request early release from prison.
Found guilty of felony child endangering, Candace Woodall was sentenced to 17 months in prison yesterday by Common Pleas Judge Denise Ann Dartt.
Judge Dartt said there was no excuse for Woodall to leave her 2-year-old daughter alone while she went to buy drugs. But she was willing to allow her to spend time in the Corrections Treatment Facility instead of serving her full sentence in prison.
"I'm sure you're feeling pretty low. You should feel low. You should hang your head in shame that you placed your own flesh and blood in jeopardy," the judge told a tearful Woodall. "I am offering the possibility of early release if you perform well at the institution and do some reflection."
Woodall, 26, pleaded no contest Aug. 20 to child endangering. She was charged after a neighbor found the toddler alone at 404 Oak St. in East Toledo the morning of July 13.
Police said Woodall had left her daughter with a man she had met the night before so she could go buy drugs.
Judge Dartt said the child may have been alone for as long as five hours. Though Woodall did admit responsibility for her actions, she denied leaving the child alone.
When speaking to the judge, Woodall admitted making a mistake and pointed to her addiction as a cause. She also has a 5-year-old son; both children are in family members' custody.
"I really am a good mother when I'm not on drugs," she told the judge. "I'd like a chance to get help."
Woodall was found guilty of misdemeanor child endangering in July, 2002, after police saw her buy crack cocaine from a male in the presence of her then-4-month-old son, according to Toledo Municipal Court records. She had also faced possession of drug paraphernalia charges in 2004 and spent several months in drug treatment.
Defense attorney William Meyer told the judge Woodall knows what she did was wrong and is ashamed of her actions. He said after the hearing Judge Dartt was very fair in her sentence and gave his client hope that if she follows the rules, she'll get the help she needs.
"The only way she's going to get ahold of this addiction is intensive treatment, and the only way she can afford that is with the court's help," Mr. Meyer said.
Woodall's mother, who began crying during the hearing, was escorted from the courthouse after asking the judge if she could hug her daughter before she was taken to prison. She continued to call to her daughter that she loved her even as she left the courtroom.
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