A Benton County judge said Wednesday his intent in sending a former dental hygienist to jail is to give her “a period of enforced sobriety.”
Nicole B. Allenton, 44, has been addicted to prescription painkillers for at least a decade, according to court and state Department of Health records.
After her second criminal case of admitting she used an employer’s computer software to write fake prescriptions, Judge Alex Ekstrom said it was time for Allenton to go to jail for one year as recommended by the prosecution.
However, Ekstrom gave Allenton a break, saying that after serving nine months behind bars, she can do the remaining three months on jail work release or work crew.
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Allenton — with credit for good behavior — could be back home for her two teen kids early into the next school year, Ekstrom noted.
I care for (my kids) very much. I am sorry for all the drama. I’ll just do whatever it takes to protect them. I want to continue my sobriety and be a good parent.
Nicole B. Allenton
Ekstrom’s decision came two weeks after Allenton showed up to court unprepared to go to jail. The judge at that time accused her of either denying reality or trying to manipulate the court by using childcare as an excuse to remain out of custody.
On Wednesday, Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Howell said he did not believe Allenton’s previous representations were truthful, since he learned other family members were willing to help.
Allenton said she did not intentionally manipulate the court and that her children were her main focus.
“I care for them very much. I am sorry for all the drama. I’ll just do whatever it takes to protect them,” she said, with her kids sitting in the audience. “I want to continue my sobriety and be a good parent.”
Ekstrom replied that he didn’t find much of what Allenton said as credible, but did not hold any of that against her personally.
“I’m not offended. I’m not angry. I see that as a result of your addiction, and I’ve attempted to craft a sentence that will hopefully deal with that addiction,” he said. “It is my hope that those around you will take a similar view towards your behavior.”
Her attorney, Randy Jameson, had asked for three to four months behind bars, followed by a jail alternative. He reminded the court that she has been evaluated by a treatment provider and told she needs six months of treatment.
I’m not offended. I’m not angry. I see that as a result of your addiction, and I’ve attempted to craft a sentence that will hopefully deal with that addiction. It is my hope that those around you will take a similar view towards your behavior.
Judge Alex Ekstrom
Jameson earlier said that his client knew working in a dental office was “the easy way” to get access to prescriptions, instead of buying painkillers on the street.
Allenton pleaded guilty in February to three counts of obtaining a controlled substance through fraud, and second-degree theft for shoplifting $764 in makeup from JCPenney in Kennewick.
In 2012, Allenton pleaded guilty to two counts of prescription fraud.
She has a new case in King County District Court for second-degree theft, a felony. Her first appearance is scheduled March 21.
In that case, Allenton allegedly went into Ulta Beauty in a Bellevue mall last August, placed $1,025 worth of merchandise in her purse, then handed the rest of her shopping bag to an employee claiming she had left her wallet in her car.
Two employees followed Allenton to her car and told her to wait for police, but she backed up and drove away, court documents said.