The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 4, 2014

Woman sentenced to 10 years in prison

By Samantha Pidde Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — A Clinton woman will serve as much as 10 years in prison for delivering crack cocaine, as well as for assault and theft.

District Court Judge Mary Howes told Cindy Charneski, 42, that she sympathizes with the problems the defendant has faced. Looking at the candid answers the defendant provided in the pre-sentencing investigation report, Howes added there is hope that Charneski can turn around her life.

“You’ve kind of chosen the wrong way in how you’ve handled them (her problems),” Howes said.

Despite her sympathy to the defendant, Howes said Charneski needs to follow the recommendation made by the PSI report for incarceration.

Charneski’s defense attorney, Derek Jones, asked Howes to consider a sentence other than prison.

“Obviously Ms. Charneski’s behavior in this case was largely drug driven,” Jones said. “She’s owning up to what she did and the harm it caused.”

According to court documents, Charneski delivered no more than 10 grams of cocaine base between Feb. 1, 2012, and March 21, 2013. The defendant originally was charged with conspiracy to distribute crack, a class B felony, but pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, a class C felony. According to court documents, she provided information in the drug investigation.

The affidavit continues that Charneski wrote personal checks to herself in an associate’s name, without his consent. On April 5, 2013, the sister and power of attorney for the 74-year-old victim reported to police that he had lost a significant amount of money in a short amount of time, according to court documents. The victim reviewed several checks made out to Charneski with police on April 17, and confirmed that the signatures were not his.

The defendant also pleaded guilty to assault, causing serious injury, in connection with a March 21, 2013, incident. According to the affidavit, she hit the same 74-year-old man on the arm, causing him to fall and receive a serious injury to his hip, requiring pins.

Charneski expressed sorrow Thursday for injuring this man.

Howes ordered Charneski to serve as much as 10 years in prison for the cocaine charge, no more than five years each for assault causing injury and second-degree theft. The three sentences will run concurrently. A fine of $1,000 and two fines of $750 were suspended.

Charneski also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,982. Charges of willful injury, gatherings where controlled substances were used and six counts of forgery were dismissed.