For Matthew Steven Davies, it was an uphill battle to expect a judge to allow him to serve a split sentence or to serve his sentence on probation. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to three counts of felony possession of methamphetamine.
In Criminal Court Judge David Patterson’s last case in Cumberland County, he denied requests from Davies’ attorney, Randall Boston of Crossville, to serve a split sentence or to be placed on probation to allow him to continue a treatment program in which he was involved.
“The best prediction of the future is past actions,” Patterson noted. “I believe people can change, with a higher power … it helps others to understand you don’t get probation when you get out and do the same crimes while on probation.”
In accepting a plea agreement in February, Davies pleaded guilty to three counts of felony possession of methamphetamine (sell and/or delivery) and agreed to three, eight-year sentences to be served concurrently, or at the same time.
The hearing was held to determine how that sentence would be served.
Assistant District Attorney Amanda Worley called one witness — State Board of Probation and Parole Officer Christopher Goddard, who noted from a pre-sentence report that Davies’ record of offenses goes back to 2006. Charges ranged from traffic violations to simple possession, probation violations, theft and drug charges.
Offenses were recorded in Cumberland County, Baldwin County, AL, and Cherokee County, GA.
On June 29, 2018, a probation violation warrant for testing positive for oxycodone and failure to report was issued by Georgia authorities, but the warrant was never served.
Boston questioned why his client was never picked up on the warrant, which remains outstanding, and suggested that Georgia authorities simply were very interested in jailing his client.
Boston also noted that several of the charges presented had been dismissed, that Davies is employed and has been faithful in participating in an out-patient treatment program.
Kevin McHugh of Invitation Ministries testified that he began visiting and working with Davies on a recovery program while Davies was in jail. Once released from jail, Davies continued participating in the 12-step classes held at Redemption Church.
“He graduated from the program, but continues coming … he has been faithful to attend,” McHugh said.
Boston argued, “Society will be little served with him serving time.”
Patterson referred to Davies’ record of new arrests while on probation, and said, “The court looks at how confinement helps you or helps society … he has not done well (on probation).
“The state showed grace by allowing the minimum sentence … it could have been higher if these cases had individually been tried.”
Patterson then, in his last action on the bench in Cumberland County, ordered that Davies serve the eight-years in prison with credit for 99 days already served.