Sentences for bringing substances into jail and child endangerment

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 6/7/24

TORRINGTON – The Goshen County District Court met in session early Monday at 10 a.m. for the sentencing of two Torrington residents on charges of attempting to bring controlled substances into …

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Sentences for bringing substances into jail and child endangerment


TORRINGTON – The Goshen County District Court met in session early Monday at 10 a.m. for the sentencing of two Torrington residents on charges of attempting to bring controlled substances into the Goshen County Jail, as well as child endangerment.

District judge Ed Buchanan presided over the hearings with Goshen County and Prosecuting Attorney Eric Boyer representing the State of Wyoming.

Public defender Eric Palen was also present in representing defense counsel for Areanne Lym and Sean Feagler, both residents of Goshen County.

The sentencings began with Lym’s case as judge Buchanan addressed the defendant, as well as both her counsel and state prosecution.

“When I review these cases, I look at them and wonder of the propriety of any eligibility of prosecution,” Buchanan began. “I ask this question because I have a mother here who has obviously has had a huge substance abuse problem which has led to felony-level criminal activity. The recommendation is probation, but again what is the propriety of pluses and minuses of someone like Ms. Lym having an opportunity to pursue work, employment, and an occupation so she is successful in the treatment program?”

Palen then proceeded to address both the judge and all present within the court about his client’s ability to abide by all terms of her current bond, as well as presenting written documentation of having successfully completed certified drug rehabilitation programs within the state of Wyoming.

“I have a letter which says my client completed the treatment at Southwest Counseling and is being referred to aftercare,” Palen said. “This was a lengthy process, and my client has successfully completed it. Between the letter, the recommendations, and the presentencing report I think it’s pretty clear my client has successfully finished the programs. She has done what was asked of her. We would propose the policy at this point is to give this person the benefit of the doubt, the benefit of probation, and give her a chance to demonstrate to the court that she can successfully complete probation and treatment. She can continue to be a good mother to her children and citizen of Goshen County. So, that’s what we ask for at this point.”

After listening attentively to the comments of the defense, prosecuting attorney Boyer agreed on giving a young mother the benefit of the doubt toward a more productive law-abiding future.

Boyer however was reminded of the seriousness of Lym’s charges which did involve attempting to bring dangerous substances into a place of incarceration, as well as tainting with mandatory drug tests.

“Your Honor, I suggest this case is of the type of case that would make the TV news, or a movie and so forth,” Boyer stated. “My point is a young woman who is obviously bright, capable, intelligent, and hardworking has the benefit of a good family system and has multiple kids who need her mothering. At the same time, she is someone who has now admitted to taking controlled substances into a jail for a former spouse who had a long and serious drug history. This obviously has huge and rippling ramifications, especially for her small children and their mental health. In consideration of those general aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and the plea agreement which involves a case of child endangerment; the court would remember the state agreed to dismiss that charge without prejudice assuming Ms. Lym successfully completed treatment which she has.”

“Although we all agree the only thing we want for Ms. Lym is to succeed and be a successful member of the community, it was concerning during the presentence investigation report that Ms. Lym struggled while on bond,” Boyer continued. “She received new charges as a weapon was found in her home. Ms. Lym wasn’t continually using illegal substances, but the allegations toward Ms. Lym involved her secreting some bottle or plastic bag in her private areas and using pelvic muscles to squeeze and break the bottle to provide the appearance of a urine sample. I suggest not that Ms. Lym would continue to do that, but with someone who is as smart and capable as she is to be driven into those circumstances needs to take this extraordinarily seriously.”

After hearing statements from both ends of the courtroom, the defendant herself was given a chance to address the court and comment on the allegations while a potentially lengthy prison sentence lingered.

“While I was at Southwest Counseling, one of the most important things I learned was accountability,” Lym said. “Prior to that, I didn’t know how to take any accountability for my actions. I just wanted to come here and say I do take full accountability by bringing a controlled substance into a jail. I didn’t realize how awful that was, and how incredibly risky it was to others in the jail, my family, and my children. When I got sobered up, I realized it was just awful, and I feel very bad about it because I put my family and kids through a lot. I cannot and could not do it again. It was awful. Also, I learned a lot of skills to be a productive member of society. I think I got this.”

Judge Buchanan then proceeded to ask the defendant about any plans or wishes she may have as far as employment or schooling moving forward. Lym then expressed having a keen interest in healthcare, for which she has already held a CNA license in the past.

The district judge addressed the defendant one last time just prior to handing down sentencing.

“As I reviewed this file in preparation today the mitigating factors are you are young,” Buchanan said. “You have children, and through no fault of their own you have caused considerable trauma in some ways. You caused them to be in the care of the state and to follow you to rehabilitation. But you are a young mom, you did successfully complete treatment which is commendable and you have limited criminal history.” 

“What I really struggle with this in this case is how serious it is,” judge Buchanan continued. “You stated you recognized taking a controlled substance into a jail. Obviously, you got caught, and this is very serious from the state’s perspective. We are going to do probation in this case, and if you are not successful in that probation you will go to prison. To me, it makes sense to the court to add an additional incentive just under these circumstances. The court is looking at your ability to provide for your children, to make a life for yourself and not to create another generation that follows the negative aspects of your footsteps.”

Judge Buchanan then gave the defendant a sentence of five years probation in addition to court costs, restitution, and public defense fees.

“If you break any terms of your probation, you will be incarcerated,” judge Buchanan added. “You owe it to your kids. Your kids will be in the care of someone else, and that sentence will be long enough. I’m just telling you this, your life is hanging in the balance. But the good news is you have every opportunity to be successful in life, and you have to hit this with everything you’ve got. Or everything you have been offered today will be lost. You can either have a wonderful life, or you can go to prison. There is no in-between.”

The courtroom soon thereafter turned its attention toward the case of Sean Feagler, who months ago had reached a plea agreement with the state regarding both felony child endangerment and domestic battery.

It should be noted Feagler had allowed two small children to occupy a household which contained both fentanyl and methamphetamine. 

Palen addressed the court first on behalf of his client while handing Judge Buchanan Feagler’s certificates of completion from various state rehabilitation programs.

“My client has successfully completed a lot of treatment and counseling at this point,” Palen stated. “He absolutely from all appearances as I can tell is on the right track. He is definitely willing to complete probation and follow through with whatever programs would be required. In order to avoid trouble in the future, right now Your Honor my client is back in the community and is successfully not having any more problems. He does have employment lined up and is doing an intensive outpatient program. So, we would ask the court that he not be required to complete the Assertive Continuing Care (ACC) program, but will complete any other programs the court would ask for and would ask for probation at this time.”

Prosecuting attorney Boyer then responded with, “The plea agreement called for Mr. Feagler to plead guilty on two counts in return for level-three inpatient treatment. With that the state agreed to stand silent, so we will do so.”

As the previous defendant, Feagler was permitted to address the court just prior to being given a sentence.

“I just want to apologize for my offenses,” Feagler said. “It was not right for me to use the drugs I was using, and I am just looking up from here on out.”

Judge Buchanan proceeded to give a four to five suspended prison sentence to Feagler in favor of a three-year term of supervised probation.

The district court judge addressed the defendant one final time before the court stood in recess.

“I found you were very honest and open about the issues you face,” Buchanan said. “With your drug issues, the seriousness of the charges, and kids being present in the home there’s really nothing much worse than that. Not only were the kids around, but there was a large element of domestic violence which is very serious. The court is willing to forgo the ACC requirement at this time, because you have strong family support in the community and children you need to raise and be responsible for. This probationary period is pretty much your only chance to show the court, your family, and children you are going to move forward with this and take whatever steps necessary to be successful in your probation and your life. This is it.”

The court stood in recess at precisely 10:56 a.m.