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‘Doughboy’ Couple Violate Probation South Hill Attorney’s Attorney Argues That Cocaine Re-Use Is Expected Part Of Recovery

A Spokane attorney used cocaine twice after he admitted guilt and was placed on probation for his involvement in the Operation Doughboy drug conspiracy case.

Ronald Kappelman’s cocaine use in January was detected in random urine tests, including one administered on Jan. 23 when he began serving a work-release term.

Authorities immediately moved to revoke Kappelman’s probation, but still don’t know who provided him the cocaine he used in his South Hill home, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rice.

Kappelman’s pregnant wife, Joanna Kappelman, also violated terms of her probation by twice using cocaine, U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle was told Wednesday.

Joanna Kappelman didn’t know she was pregnant when she used the drug, her attorney, Brian Butler, told the court.

The judge suspended earlier sentences given the two defendants before imposing new sentences.

Under new sentences, Ronald Kappelman will get one more month of work-release and his wife now must complete 90 days of home detention.

The federal prosecutor urged the judge to sentence Ronald Kappelman to prison for six months to a year for the new violations.

Rice reminded the judge that at sentencing in December, Kappelman provided the court with “glowing recommendations” and promised he wouldn’t be back.

Attorneys for the Kappelman’s argued that even though their urine samples tested positive for cocaine, they didn’t possess the drug.

“One can’t knowingly ingest cocaine without possessing it,” Rice argued.

After reviewing court ruling on the issue of drug possession, the judge agreed with the prosecutor.

Before his arrest last August, Kappelman was the legal adviser to the Spokane Police Guild and provided free legal advice to the Rape Crisis Center and the DARE anti-drug abuse program.

He will complete four months of work-release at the Geiger Corrections Center and two months of home detention.

The sentence will allow him to continue operating Fly-By Espresso, at 1925 W. Fourth, where he’s worked since his license to practice law was revoked.

The judge ordered Joanna Kappelman to complete 90 days of home detention. She can leave her home only for specific reasons during that term.

Ron Kappelman’s attorney, Carl Oreskovich, told the judge that it is common for cocaine addicts to succumb to temptation and use cocaine again several times in the first six months of recovery.

Kappelman told the judge that he didn’t intend to use the drug. “I didn’t want to; I hate the stuff, myself.”

He and his wife both are attending drug recovery programs and counseling sessions to battle their addictions, Oreskovich told the judge.

The re-use of cocaine is an expected part of the recovery program, Oreskovich said.