Helpful nature spares woman prison time for pot operation
She’ll pay fine instead, spend 12 years on probation
By GARY HARMON
A Grand Junction woman who led a double life — an active mother, neighbor and friend and a marijuana dealer with a thriving business — will spend the next dozen years on probation and pay a $10,000 fine.
Joslyn Maldonado’s generosity, likability and willingness to help others “saved you from prison,” Mesa County District Judge Tom Deister told her as he ordered a 10-year prison sentence, suspended, and 1,000 hours of community service.
“But it will not save you the next time,” he said.
Maldonado, 45, earlier pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Maldonado’s activity as a drug dealer was a contradiction, said her attorney, Colleen Scissors, who noted that many of Maldonado’s family, friends and legitimate associates were in court urging Deister to find a sentence that wouldn’t require her to be locked behind bars.
Friends praised her for working to help the children of incarcerated parents and for other help she offered to people in need.
Prosecutor Dan Rubinstein acknowledged that crafting a sentence for Maldonado presented “an extremely difficult situation,” because of the double nature of her life.
She was married to an abusive husband and had seen her father imprisoned, but seemed not to see the need to protect her children from the same influences until she was arrested, Rubinstein said.
Maldonado’s request for a community corrections sentence, in which she could remain working during the day but be locked up at night, was rejected, and Rubinstein sought a prison sentence.
The long probation sentence will help law enforcement keep close supervision of her and seemed tailored to fit Maldonado’s crime, Rubinstein said.
Scissors called it a “really thoughtful and appropriate sentence.”
Law enforcement found 18 pounds of marijuana at Maldonado’s home on Aug. 18 in a drug task force raid, which was “clearly indicative of a large-scale operation,” Deister said.
Maldonado also was represented by paid counsel, which is unusual in that drug defendants frequently are represented by the Public Defender’s Office, Deister said.
Maldonado told Deister she was “remorseful, embarrassed and ashamed of my actions.”