Last minute slip up alters outcome in deferred entry of judgment

Shyla Cline listens as Judge Alan D. Moats discusses her deferred adjudication case in Circuit Court on Tuesday.

TAYLOR COUNTY—A local woman was back in court hoping for a good outcome after the Honorable Judge Alan D. Moats had agreed to a plea deal that would allow the defendant to successfully complete the Taylor County Community Corrections program in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Back in August 2019, Shyla Mae Cline, 27, entered a guilty plea to felony child neglect and first offense driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As part of the agreement, the state would not object to holding the felony child neglect under advisement to give Cline the opportunity to successfully complete the program and successfully settle the companion Abuse and Neglect Case against her.

If both were successfully completed, the state would move that the felony charge be reduced to a misdemeanor child neglect charge. For her driving charge, Cline would be held for 48 hours and would be fined $200.

According to court documents, while driving under the influence of methamphetamine and Klonopin, Cline hit a Taylor County Sheriff’s Deputy head-on, with a child in the back seat of the car.

For her neglect, she would be facing a possible one-to-five years and a fine of up to $3,000, and for the driving charge, Cline would face not less than two days nor more than 12 months and a fine of $200-$5,000.

Cline’s council, Ashley Smith, revealed during the August hearing that her client had been released from rehab in early July and had been drug tested each day thereafter.

“I am 79 days clean today,” Cline reported. “I want to thank you and Tammy Narog for allowing me to go to Waves, it saved my life.”

Moats voiced that he was willing to give Cline a chance to prove herself and ordered that he would accept the recommendation set forth in the negotiated plea agreement.

On Tuesday, Cline was back in Taylor County Circuit Court after claiming to have successfully completed the community corrections program, however, Director Tammy Narog had a different opinion on the matter.

“It seemed as if Shyla was doing really well, up until yesterday, when she had a positive drug screen for alcohol,” voiced Narog.

In fact, Narog submitted a report on October 26 that revealed that while on the program, Cline had produced several positive drug screens for methamphetamine, amphetamine, oxycodone and alcohol. She however noted that the defendant’s last positive screen prior to Monday’s, was in June, and it was positive for only alcohol.

“She has successfully completed the Waves program, as well as other programs while on the community corrections program,” Narog disclosed. “I was actually shocked when I received word that she had tested positive on Monday.”

Cline denied the consumption of alcohol and told Judge Moats that she was having the test sent off to be lab tested.

“I can continue your case to allow for the test to come back from the lab,” Moats addressed Cline. “If it comes back negative, then we will proceed with the agreement, however, if it comes back positive, I will accept the plea to felony child abuse, and you will be sentenced accordingly.”

After considering her options, Cline decided to come clean and admitted to the court that she had in fact consumed alcohol, and that the positive screen was correct.

“Then why did you waste everyone’s time? We can work with mess ups,” voiced Moats. “But what I cannot work with and will not tolerate is lying. I am willing to work with you, because I feel like you can overcome your issues, but you have to work with me.”

He ordered that he would continue the case and that no decision would be made during the hearing saying, “I don’t want to see you fail. I don’t want to send you to prison or have you walk around with a felony charge around your neck weighing you down in life. I want you to continue on the program until Ms. Narog comes to me and tells me she believes you have been successful.”

He added, “This is all up to you. If you go in with a good attitude and be truthful and cooperative, then you will be done in a shorter amount of time. I hope you choose to be successful.”

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