Published on June 18th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman0
Drug-dealing Duluth nurse gets jail, second chance at treatment
A former Duluth nurse practitioner who illegally provided 11,807 pain pills to nine people admitted Tuesday that she violated her probation and was sentenced to a year in the St. Louis County Jail, but she could be released early for another chance at in-patient chemical dependency treatment.
Jill Renee Karkoska, 27, pleaded guilty in January to first-degree sale of a controlled substance. She said that she was chemically dependent on pain pills, and wrote the prescriptions for people who in return would give her some of the pills. Legally, the exchange constituted a sale.
The crime was punishable by a guideline sentence of 7 years, 2 months in prison, but because Karkoska had no prior criminal record and had sought treatment, the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office offered her a five-year probationary sentence for her guilty plea.
As part of her probation, Karkoska was ordered to complete the in-patient Duluth Bethel Female Offender Program. In April, her Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer filed a notice with the court that Karkoska was terminated from the program because of “lack of effort, dishonesty and disruptiveness to the program.”
That led to Tuesday’s probation violation hearing in State District Court.
St. Louis County prosecutor Rebekka Stumme asked Judge Mark Munger to send Karkoska to prison for the guideline sentence of 86 months. Stumme told the court that Karkoska didn’t appreciate the break she was given by the probationary sentence and her criminal behavior had continued as she tried to assist other “extremely vulnerable” women get medication while in the female offender program.
Outside the courtroom after the hearing, Stumme said: “The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office’s goal is to treat everyone fairly in the same situation. Here you have someone who has a great amount of trust placed in her by virtue of her education, who potentially puts people’s lives at risk by medicating them, and that is just as bad as someone who sells cocaine or crack or heroin.”
Probation officer Kris Wester recommended to the court that Karkoska be sentenced to a year in the St. Louis County Jail, receive in-patient chemical dependency treatment and be ordered to comply with all recommendations and aftercare.
Karkoska was wearing a blue jail jump suit, handcuffs and leg shackles. She’s been in jail the past 43 days. Munger asked her if she had anything to say to the court.
“I take full responsibility for my actions. I don’t downplay it at all,” Karkoska said. “I have a lot of drive and integrity in me to right things that are wrong.”
Munger told the parties that he wasn’t going to send Karkoska to prison for her first probation violation. He said a defendant had just appeared before him in a case where he had violated probation four times, before finally having his prison sentence executed.
The judge said he also took into account that Karkoska lost her profession as the result of her crime and it is unlikely that she will ever be able to work in the medical field because of what she did.
Munger sentenced Karkoska to a year in the St. Louis County Jail, but she can be released after serving 120 more days if a bed becomes available for in-patient chemical dependency treatment at the Tapestry Women’s Wellness Center in St. Paul. Tapestry says its treatment is dedicated “to the unique needs of women who are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, trauma, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and other emotional problems.”
Source: duluthnewstribune.com “Drug-dealing Duluth nurse gets jail, second chance at treatment,” June 18, 2013.