Sauk County drug court graduate's probation revoked

In this September file photo, Cora Hatfield accepts her treatment court graduation plaque from Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Michael Screnock as her brother, Herbert C. Grosenheider Jr., looks on by video feed from a prison in Redgranite.

News Republic file photo

One of Sauk County’s first drug court graduates will go back to treatment after a recent relapse prompted officials to revoke her probation.

In an emotional statement Tuesday, 28-year-old Cora M. Hatfield of La Valle told a judge she took full responsibility for falling back into drug use, but said she is determined to make another attempt at sobriety.

“I truly believe everything happens for a reason,” Hatfield said, adding that she has spent the last several weeks in jail reflecting on what caused her to relapse, and how she intends to bounce back.

Hatfield was one of the county’s first Adult Treatment Court participants. She and her husband Eddie were among the first three graduates who were honored during a ceremony in September.

The treatment program — established in January 2016 – provides intensive counseling, supervision and testing as an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent offenders whose crimes are driven by addiction.

As part of a plea agreement to resolve multiple cases involving theft and drug-related charges, Hatfield agreed to participate in the program. A judge agreed not to impose a sentence unless she violated terms of the deal.

Since graduation, Hatfield remained free on probation until her agent discovered the recent relapse, prompting her return to jail and Tuesday’s hearing.

The Sauk County District Attorney’s Office and Hatfield’s defense attorney asked the judge to sentence her to time already served, which allowed her to be released after Tuesday’s court appearance.

In January 2016, prior to her participation in drug court, Hatfield was eight months pregnant and incarcerated in the county jail. A nurse with the county’s Nurse-Family Partnership program helped her gain entry to the treatment program and maintain custody of her daughter, Emma.

County officials have highlighted Hatfield’s story to promote the nursing program — which provides assistance to first-time mothers in poverty — and the treatment court.

Hatfield’s attorney, Leonie Dolch of Baraboo, said in court Tuesday that the pressure of that publicity may have played a role in her client’s relapse.

She said Hatfield was embarrassed to reach out for help after graduation, because she didn’t want to disappoint those who promoted her as a success story.

In encouraging the judge to accept the joint recommendation, Dolch said additional jail time would serve no purpose. Hatfield and her daughter will stay with family under the watchful eye of social services, Dolch said, as she goes back into treatment.

“The best thing for Cora, Emma, and the community at large is for Cora to get out of jail and continue to claw her way forward,” Dolch said.

In accepting the joint recommendation and allowing Hatfield’s release, Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Wendy Klicko offered words of encouragement. She told Hatfield that her prior accomplishments had not been wiped away by the relapse.

Klicko said Hatfield had the benefit, but also the burden, of being one of the treatment court’s first graduates. “You are the victim of your own success,” she said, advising Hatfield to continue her pursuit of lasting life changes.

Hatfield’s family has been damaged by drug abuse. Her brother, 32-year-old Dodgeville resident Herbert C. Grosenheider Jr., played a role in supplying the heroin that caused the death of their mother, 51-year-old Diane Rogers, and her boyfriend, 55-year-old Richard Maurer.

Grosenheider, who in 2016 was sentenced to four years behind bars, appeared by video feed from prison during September’s treatment court graduation ceremony to congratulate his sister.

Follow Tim Damos on Twitter @timdamos

Reporter for the Baraboo News Republic.