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Springboro teacher in drug case seeks treatment in lieu of conviction

Published: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 @ 6:29 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 @ 12:11 PM
By: Lawrence Budd - Staff Writer

A Springboro teacher facing criminal charges in a drug case also involving her son is being considered for treatment in lieu of conviction.

Amy Panzeca, 48, of Springboro, is facing charges of permitting drug abuse, contributing to the unruliness of a minor and endangering children in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

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Earlier this month, her son, now 16, was sentenced to 30 more days in the local detention center as part of his sentence in Warren County Juvenile Court after pleading no contest to charges of trafficking in drugs and possession of controlled substances.

Judge Joe Kirby gave the boy credit for 15 days already spent in detention, but Kirby ordered him to complete an in-patient treatment program that often takes 4 1/2 to 6 months to complete, court officials said.

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He and his mother, a long-time teacher in the Springboro school district, were permitted to attend a relative’s funeral. She was also allowed to attend a holiday gathering with children in attendance, despite court orders limiting her access to children, including her son.

The case stems from traffic stops by Springboro police and a raid on May 19 by the Warren County Drug Task Force of the Panzeca home in the Settlers Walk community in Springboro earlier this year.

Panzeca is accused of converting her son’s money, including a birthday gift, to Bitcoin, which he used to buy LSD, some of which he sold to about 20 Springboro students.

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Last week, Judge Donald Oda II found an oral motion by Panzeca’s lawyer “to be well-taken, in part” and ordered the long-time teacher be examined at the Warren County Jail.

On Tuesday, her lawyer, Andrea Ostrowski, filed a motion that said: “Drug or alcohol usage by the defendant was a factor leading to the instant offense.”

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According to the Ohio State Bar Association, “Intervention in Lieu of Conviction (IILC) was created by the Ohio legislature to give certain offenders an opportunity to receive court-supervised treatment instead of a conviction and sentence when they have been charged with specified lower-level offenses.”

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Offenders must abstain from drugs and alcohol for 12 months, take part in treatment programs and submit to random testing in order to complete the diversion program. It also can include community service and financial restitution.

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If offenders complete the program, the court dismisses the original charges and can potentially seal the records related to the case.

Since August, Panzeca has been free on her own recognizance, pending trial. She had been pressing for the identity of confidential informants in the case and suppression of statements made to police.

Oda delayed all other proceedings in the case, pending outcome of a hearing set for 1 p.m. on Jan. 17 on the motion for treatment in lieu of conviction.