By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
A Madison County judge ordered Amber Portwood to remain jailed at least until a hearing in January in connection with reported probation violations and new offenses.
After hearing the news that she’d remain behind bars at least until Jan. 27, Portwood — appearing before Circuit Court Judge David Happe via video conference from the Madison County Jail — dropped her head into her hands and rubbed her eyes.
The star of MTV’s reality show “Teen Mom” was arrested Monday for violating several terms of her probation, including failing to submit to drug tests, not getting her GED or completing anger management classes, failing to deposit $10,000 into an education fund for her daughter and owing $56 in probation fees.
Portwood, 21, is now accused of committing battery and possession of a controlled substance.
Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Hopper argued that when a convicted felon on probation is accused of violating probation terms by committing a new felony that the standard operating procedure is for that defendant to be held in jail until an evidentiary hearing.
“To do anything different would send the wrong message to the defendant and send the wrong message to the community,” he said.
Portwood’s attorney, Evan Broderick, requested in-home detention for Portwood at her grandparents’ Anderson home, citing that she had no criminal record before the felony for which she was on probation — two counts of Class D felony domestic battery in presence of a child. Portwood testified that she’d gone to Malibu, Calif., and participated in a treatment program focused on anger management and substance abuse and left the program sober.
Upon her release, she saw a medical doctor for pain in her back; Portwood testified that she has scoliosis and other issues with her back. The doctor prescribed hydrocodone. She said she began to abuse the medication and felt it contributed to the probation violations and new offenses.
Portwood also testified that she felt pressured and exploited through her work with MTV.
“I want to quit, and I will,” she said.
Broderick said Portwood wants to live a normal life.
Happe agreed with Hopper saying that detention until a hearing is the normal circumstance and that he saw nothing in this case that distinguished it from any other.
On Thursday, Portwood was charged with Class D felony possession of a controlled substance.
According to the Anderson police probable cause report, Portwood’s probation officers went to her Anderson home around 3:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and found Portwood to be “very groggy.” In her apartment they found a number of drugs without corresponding prescription records including 32 hydrocodone tablets, six soma tablets and two methocarbamol tablets.
She told officers she’d been involved in a car crash the night before and that she does operate a motor vehicle while taking the quantity of medications she is prescribed.
Portwood rear-ended another vehicle around 8:10 p.m. Dec. 15. There were no reported injuries. She told officers she hit him after he suddenly hit on his brakes to make a turn and didn’t see the other driver use a turn signal. The man said he was turning with his turn signal on when Portwood rear-ended him.
Portwood was also involved in an altercation in the early morning hours of Nov. 18 at IHOP. Police were called to the restaurant around 4:30 a.m. after she and another woman attacked each other in the center of the dining room after exchanging words, according to an Anderson police report. Neither woman was injured, and no charges were filed in connection with the incident.
Portwood told police that the woman was “picking with her” and that everyone is always “messing” with her. During the fight, she claimed the woman punched her in the side of the face and that Portwood tore the woman’s wig from her head.
The report was forwarded on to the agents handling Portwood’s probation.
In June, Portwood pleaded guilty to two counts of Class D felony domestic battery in presence of a child, which stemmed from a Sept. 28 episode of “Teen Mom,” in which she was shown hitting, kicking and punching Gary Shirley, the child’s father.
During her sentencing for that charge, Happe ordered Portwood to 30 days of inpatient treatment, with additional outpatient treatment pending an evaluation. Portwood was also ordered to obtain her high school diploma, and start a college fund for her 2-year-old daughter, Leah, to which Portwood is to contribute $10,000.
Initially Happe set a hearing date of Jan. 9, but Broderick asked for an extension and for a special date to be set for a hearing. She is scheduled to appear before Happe again at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 27.
Contact Abbey Doyle: 640-4805, firstname.lastname@example.org