I.F. woman sentenced for drug possession


An Idaho Falls woman was sentenced Monday in Madison County Courthouse for possession of a controlled substance after methamphetamine was found in a car she had stolen. 

Moeller sentenced Holly Noel Harrison, 44, to five years of probation and 75 days in jail, which she has already served. Moeller gave her an underlying sentence of two to six years in prison should she fail on probation.

Harrison, did not become addicted to methamphetamine at a young age; she tried the drug for the first time when she was 40. Harrison said in court she was reminded of billboards warning of the drug’s dangers. In the three years since she first used meth, Harrison has lost her career as a nurse, custody of her son and her freedom.

“I think you said it best when you said this is a substance you can’t take even once,” District Judge Gregory Moeller said.

Defense Attorney James Archibald said his client had very little criminal history and should be given treatment instead of punishment.

“This is a case that it’s fair to say she lost her way,” Archibald said. “After sitting in jail over two months, she’s back on track.”

Harrison said while in jail she completed a 12-step program, and wanted to seek further rehabilitation while on probation.

“I think treatment will be good for me because I will learn to cope with life instead of using drugs,” Harrison said.

Moeller said he was sympathetic to Harrison, and told her he hopes she can succeed and put her life back together. But he said she was not a passive victim.

When Harrison was arrested, police found methamphetamine and weight scales in her car. She was first charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver, grand theft and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

Moeller said by selling drugs, Harrison became a danger to herself, her friends and family and her clients.

“I’m concerned you seem to be trending towards criminality,” Moeller said.

The judge said he hoped the felony charge would serve as a wake-up call, and that he was encouraged that Harrison entered rehab before being ordered to by a court.

Moeller encouraged Harrison to finish the 12 remaining credits to obtain her bachelor’s degree, saying he would reduce her $1,785.50 fine by $250 if she finished school before probation. Moeller also said Harrison should consider working to regain her nursing license.

“If you do a completely clean probation, which I think you’re capable of, I’m open to dismissing these charges,” Moeller said.

Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.