Kelly Simonetta's jail term stayed as lawyer argues verdict
PITTSFIELD — A 37-year-old mother was sentenced to a year in jail Tuesday following her conviction last week on child endangerment and drug possession charges.
That sentence, however, will be stayed until at least March while her defense files a motion to have the verdict reconsidered.
"The jury just got it wrong," said Kelly Simonetta's attorney Richard LeBlanc.
LeBlanc said he intends to file a Rule 25 motion, claiming the jury erred when it found Simonetta guilty with the evidence it was presented.
LeBlanc asked Judge John Agostini to consider a sentence of one year of probation in opposition to the state's recommendation of a 2 1/2 year jail sentence, one year of which would be served directly, and the balance suspended for a two-year period of probation.
Agostini took the recommendation made by Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Rachael Eramo, but agreed to not impose the jail sentence until the March 16 hearing on the Rule 25 matter.
LeBlanc argued Simonetta did exactly what she should have done when she discovered her one-year-old daughter had accidently eaten a Klonopin tablet she found in an unlocked drawer.
LeBlanc said Simonetta, of North Adams, realized the child may have taken the pill, watched for signs of drowsiness or other ill effects, called 911 when those effects presented themselves and told first responders exactly what happened.
Whatever decisions Simonetta made on May 7, 2014, were not so irresponsible that she should be sent to jail, said LeBlanc.
LeBlanc raised concerns that sending Simonetta to jail would have a chilling effect on other parents giving accurate information to authorities in an emergency involving a child, amid fears of incarceration.
The child who overdosed is one of a pair of twins and had to be transported via air ambulance for treatment at a Springfield hospital.
Eramo called the life-saving efforts by all of the medical personnel involved "heroic."
LeBlanc said both twins are in custody of the state and Simonetta has "no chance" of regaining custody of them.
Meanwhile, Simonetta was sentenced to two years of probation on the drug possession charges, during which time she must avoid drugs and alcohol, submit to random screenings, participate in counseling and provide the Probation Department with records of any prescriptions.
The probation was imposed immediately.
The investigation was conducted by members of the North Adams Police Department and state police detectives assigned to the District Attorney's Office.
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