A Fremont man was sentenced in Dodge County District Court on Monday to four to five years in prison after he failed to follow through with requirements of Dodge County’s Drug Court program.
Cameron L. Christoffersen, 20, admitted to two counts of violating the terms of his drug court bond. The violations came after he was unsuccessfully discharged from a Stephen Center rehabilitation program in Omaha in January. His discharge was the result of positive drug test for THC and the discovery of two contraband cell phones that were not allowed as part of the program.
He absconded from Drug Court supervision and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Christoffersen was sentenced to four to five years on each of the cases, set to run concurrently, as part of a plea agreement with the Dodge County Attorney’s Office. He received credit for 198 days served.
Christoffersen started the Dodge County Drug Court program, which allows offenders struggling with substance abuse an opportunity for mandatory rehabilitation in lieu of a prison or probation sentence, in June 2018.
He found himself in Drug Court after pleading guilty in February of 2018 to one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a class IIA felony punishable by zero to 20 years in prison. The charges stemmed from his October 2017 arrest, when III Corps Drug Task Force officer discovered him in his car with 2.15 ounces of marijuana in a large plastic bag, as well as multiple boxes of clear, unused baggies and a digital read scale, according to an arrest affidavit.
In court, Christoffersen apologized to District Court Judge Geoffrey Hall and to the Drug Court Team for his actions. Hall said that he believed Christoffersen didn’t put the work into the Drug Court program.
“I tried very hard for the beginning, I made some mistakes, and everything kind of fell apart from there,” Christoffersen told the court.
He told Hall that he believed prison was his best option for rehabilitation.
“It’s not going to be pleasant,” Hall said. “To me, it’s going to take hard work for you to turn things around. You’re going to have to be committed to do that, and you’re going to have to work on that every day for the rest of your life.”
Two other defendants had their Drug Court bonds revoked on Monday.
Ronald Stewart, 34, was sentenced to two years in prison after he also failed to complete a rehabilitation program at the Stephen Center. He had previously pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine, a class IV felony punishable by up to two years in prison.
And David Mackey, 53, admitted to absconding from his drug court bond only two days after it began. Dodge County Attorney Oliver Glass said that a warrant had been issued for Mackey on Feb. 14, 2018. He was found earlier this month — a year later — in Texas. Mackey will be held without bond until his sentencing hearing, which is set for April 15.
The Dodge County Drug Court Program first started here in 2007, and county officials have praised the program as a positive alternative to prison sentences that helps individuals reform their lives. In 2016 and 2017, seven participants were terminated from the program, probation officials told the Dodge County Board of Supervisors last year.
“Problem solving” courts like the Drug Court are also considered to be better at reducing recidivism. Of 46 Drug Court graduates in 2016 and 2017, 10 received new charges — five felonies and five misdemeanors.
Nationally, about 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest free, compared to 30 percent of those released from prisons, according to numbers from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
In other district court news from Monday
*Torey Kolter, 32, was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to possessing a deadly weapon as a prohibited person, a class III felony punishable by zero to four years in prison. He also pleaded to two class IV felonies: tampering with physical evidence and possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison on each of those, but they were set to run concurrently to each other and to the 30-month sentence. He was arrested in October of 2018 after being pulled over. Deputies with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office found a knife, which Kolter is prohibited from possessing because he is a convicted felon. Kolter will also serve 18 months of post-release supervision.