Bad-check writer dodges prison

Joel StoningtonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN A woman with a lengthy criminal record who faced four to 12 years in prison for two felony thefts won’t be put behind bars. Emily Wodiuk, 23, was sentenced Monday to five years of probation and a four-year suspended sentence for writing bad checks to two local businesses – one for $2,000 to Matsuhisa and another for $800 to go snowmobiling, according to court records.Prosecutor Gail Nichols argued that Wodiuk should be sentenced to four years in prison because of her previous convictions and problems while on probation. “Ms. Wodiuk has earned a stay in prison,” Nichols said.When Wodiuk pleaded guilty a month ago, Judge Robert Brown said that in his 30 years on the bench he had never seen someone so young with such a lengthy record for fraud-related crimes.Wodiuk’s defense attorney, Garth McCarty, argued Monday that Wodiuk suffers from mental health and addiction problems and that prison was not the best place for her to get help. “Ms. Wodiuk lives in an alternate reality,” McCarty said. “The whole situation is strange. It’s irrational.”Wodiuk has been out of jail on personal recognizance after her mother agreed to co-sign a $20,000 cash surety bond in May. Wodiuk also agreed to follow a strict program with The Right Door, an Aspen-based substance abuse program that works closely with the criminal justice system.On Monday, District Judge James Boyd said Wodiuk had taken some positive steps while out of jail before sentencing. Still, Boyd acknowledged that Wodiuk hadn’t gotten a job, had difficulties in jail and has a serious criminal past. As part of the sentencing, Wodiuk must get mental health and substance abuse treatment. She needs to find a job within 45 days, and she was not granted signature authority on bank accounts. Further, her finances will be watched as part of her probation. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is