Woman gets 18 months for trying to sell child

She attempted $250 sale in bid to pay for bail

December 18, 2003|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old woman who tried to sell her toddler son for $250 to get out of a Carroll County jail to await trial on a drug charge was sentenced yesterday to 18 months behind bars.

Judith Ann Garland of Baltimore was being held on drug charges in the county detention center last year when she hand-wrote an agreement to sign over her parental rights to her 2-year-old boy in return for the money she needed to meet her bail. Yesterday, she said that her addictions to cocaine and heroin were the cause of her desperation for money.

"I do want to change," Garland said yesterday in Carroll County Circuit Court. Wearing a gray sweat suit, she told Judge Luke K. Burns Jr., "I love my baby very much. I know I was a good mother at one point, and I know I can be again if you give me the chance."

Burns sentenced her to five years in prison, suspending all but 18 months, to be served at the county detention center. He also ordered her placed on three years of supervised probation after her incarceration and recommended that she be considered for a drug treatment program. In addition, the judge agreed to a request by the prosecutor in the case that the woman have no dealings with her son until the Department of Social Services gives its approval.

Garland was the target of a two-month investigation that began when a Harford County woman to whom the child was offered for sale called authorities, said Maryland State Police Sgt. James DeWees.

The Harford woman is a cousin of the boy's father, who also is in jail, and has temporary custody of the child, said DeWees, a member of the Carroll County Child Abuse and Sexual Assault unit.

This summer, Garland was released from the county detention center on $15,000 bond to enroll in a drug treatment program in Crownsville.

Two months after being admitted to the program, Garland left the drug treatment facility with a man also enrolled in the program, according to a memo on program letterhead. Garland later was arrested and held at the detention center pending her trial.

In September, Burns found Garland guilty of one count of child selling, a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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