Late for court, new mom gets extra 3 months in jail

Friday October 12, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A woman, whose jail sentence for a bar fight was delayed so she could give birth, showed up to court nearly two hours late and will pay for that with an extra three months behind bars.

In Central Berkshire District Court on Friday, Judge Paul Vrabel told 26-year-old Sara J. Stein she had to be punished for her tardiness.

Stein was sentenced to nine months in jail in July after pleading guilty to a single count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The start of her sentence was delayed because she was weeks away from giving birth and the judge wanted to save the child from the stigma of being born in jail. It is her third child.

Stein attacked 27-year-old Tamara Morgan outside of the now-closed Hermann Alexander's Bar on Lyman Street in Pittsfield in the early morning hours of Sept. 10, 2011. The attack left Morgan with a fractured eye socket and cuts to her face.

During the July 31 hearing, the judge told Stein if she failed to show up on Oct. 12 to begin her jail sentence, he would double it from nine months to 18. When Stein hadn't made it to court by 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Vrabel ordered a warrant for her arrest.

Stein showed up on her own at 10:50 a.m. and told the court she was late because she now lived in Lee, had issues getting her children to day care, and didn't realize she was supposed to be at the courthouse at 9 a.m. She admitted she didn't call the court to say she would be late.

The judge dismissed her excuses.

"If we told her once, we told her 10 times," the judge said. "If I was Ms. Stein, I would have been outside the courthouse at 8 a.m."

Vrabel said because they didn't have to "drag her in" on a warrant, he wouldn't impose the full 18 months and instead upped Stein's sentence from nine months to a year at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction.

She will receive two months credit for time she has already served.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BETheAmelinckx


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