A judge acquitted a prostitute and heroin addict Tuesday of involving her 10-year-old daughter in drug sales in the first case of its kind prosecuted in Spokane.
Kathryn Ann Hall was found not guilty by Superior Court Judge Harold Clarke. He said there is no evidence linking the woman to her daughter’s sales of crack cocaine to undercover police.
The teary-eyed mother, who has been in jail since Valentine’s Day, hugged her defense attorney before she was returned to jail in handcuffs.
The judge convicted the 38-year-old woman of a second felony, possession of crack cocaine found in her home at 1808 E. Fourth.
Her attorney, Assistant Public Defender John Whaley, said he may appeal that conviction because there is no evidence Hall had “dominion and control” over the drugs found in her home.
Police found crack in the home on Sept. 1, just hours after undercover police had stopped at the house and bought $40 worth of the drug from the child.
Hall was working as a prostitute on East Sprague when the girl, caring for her 2-year-old brother, sold the crack, witnesses testified.
The girl, now 11, testified her mother didn’t know she was selling drugs.
The fifth-grader said she was given the drug by another woman who briefly had lived in the house.
Clarke said he is “tremendously upset about what’s gone on in that house,” but the conduct isn’t enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hall had involved her daughter in drug sales.
“I’m firmly convinced that (she) is familiar with the drug scene,” the judge said.
“It is terribly, terribly sad when a 10- or 11-year-old is involved or has been involved” with drugs, Clarke said later.
The girl and her brother were taken into custody by Child Protective Services but now live with a family friend.
Clarke said he is convinced the girl had sold drugs before and had gotten her education off the streets.
Deputy Prosecutor John Grasso said Hall had left her daughter at home to sell drugs. “She either set it up or allowed it to continue,” he said.
But the defense argued that Hall wasn’t on trial for “being a bad mother, for being a prostitute or for being a drug addict.”
The judge said a 6-year-old state law says a crime is committed if adults compensate, threaten, solicit “or in any other manner involve” a juvenile in drug sales.
“There is simply no evidence of that in this case,” Clarke said.