The Herald Bulletin

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February 6, 2012

'Teen Mom' Amber Portwood pleads guilty

Terms of agreement include attending drug court program

ANDERSON, Ind. — Anderson’s “Teen Mom” Amber Portwood, 21, told a judge Monday she wants her family back and to remain drug free.

Madison Circuit Court Judge David Happe accepted Portwood’s plea agreement in court Monday morning, where Portwood pleaded guilty to Class D felony possession of a controlled substance and admitted to violating probation.

Now it’s up to the Madison County Drug Court program whether it will accept her.

That decision, Happe said, should be made Thursday, but until then, Portwood — who has been in the Madison County Jail with no bond since her initial arrest Dec. 19 — will remain in jail.

“I understand it’s going to be hard,” she said of the drug court program, “but I have a lot to lose.”

If Portwood is accepted into drug court, she will have to get a full-time job, Happe said, and successfully complete the program in order for the cases against her to be dismissed.

If she fails, however, she will spend five years in the Indiana Department of Correction.

Happe said it’s a difficult program and that “the consequences are serious” if Portwood doesn’t make it through.

The chances of success are greater, he said, if the person really wants to make a change in his or her life. If it’s just about getting out of jail, it makes the program even tougher.

Portwood was initially arrested Dec. 19 at the courthouse during a meeting with probation officers for violating several terms of her probation, including failing to deposit $10,000 into a college trust fund for her daughter, Leah Shirley, owing $56 in probation fees, failing to submit to drug tests and not getting her GED or completing anger management classes.

As part of the plea agreement, Portwood’s attorney Evan Broderick said the trust fund will be set up once she is out of jail.

He said the power of attorney information has been filled out and that the check will be ready.

Portwood said she was actually working toward her high school diploma before being arrested on her parole violations, and added she will pay her $56 probation fee when released.

On Dec. 22, she was charged with Class D felony possession of a controlled substance.

Portwood told Happe she wants her life back and that she thinks about her daughter all the time, when before it was only the pills she thought of.

“I’m a better person when I’m off of them,” she said.

Attorney Bryan Williams, who sat with Portwood and Broderick in the courtroom, said Portwood has asked multiple questions about the drug court program.

“We fully believe she understands what she’s up against ...,” he said, “The reward is great if she can do it.”

Contact Dani Palmer: 640-4847, dani.palmer@heraldbulletin.com

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