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Livingston going to prison for probation violation

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Livingston going to prison for probation violation
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

A Mitchell woman was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for violating her probation.

Melissa Livingston, 35, failed to successfully complete the James Valley Drug Court program, which was one of the terms of her probation. She was on probation for a possession of controlled substance conviction.

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"She's been given numerous chances on probation," said Katie Mallery, assistant South Dakota attorney general, during court Tuesday at the Davison County Public Safety Center. "Drug court was her last chance. She deserves time in the penitentiary."

Livingston was discharged from the drug court program earlier this year, according to court documents. Drug court is an intensely supervised experience overseen by a team of professionals, including a judge, attorneys, treatment counselors, court services officers and law enforcement.

Livingston's attorney, E. Steeves Smith, asked the court for a one-year prison sentence "as a wake-up call."

Judge Tim Bjorkman sentenced Livingston to three years in the South Dakota State Women's Prison.

"You need a meth treatment program to treat a variety of drug addiction issues," Bjorkman said during sentencing. "Of the programs I'm aware of in the state penitentiary, I've developed a fair amount of respect for the women's meth program."

He added a lesser sentence of two years recommended by the state wouldn't allow for enough time in treatment.

Livingston will be eligible for parole in February 2015, which gives her about seven or eight months to go through the meth program. Bjorkman re-imposed any unpaid fees, ordered she repay court-appointed attorney fees, gave her 199 days' credit for time served and denied a four-hour furlough to get her things gathered before going to prison.

He also recommended Livingston get a guardian or conservator to help her manage her affairs when she's on parole.

"I must say, I remember the first time I saw you in court. It seemed to be hard for you to focus and not be distracted," Bjorkman said. "That was a couple years ago. But you are much different in that regard, and you should take some satisfaction in that."

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