ST. JOHNS — Justina Goldtooth, 32, of Apache County pleaded guilty on March 29 to one reduced count of domestic violence attempted aggravated assault, a Class 4 Felony for using a knife to place her boyfriend in “reasonable apprehension of physical injury” on March 10 while she was intoxicated, according to court records. The court followed the recommendation of the parties and imposed a sentence of probation.

She had been in custody at the Apache County Jail since the crime happened. She also was accused of criminally damaging a trailer and couch apparently not belonging to her, because is not a crime to damage one own’s property. The boyfriend victim has 60 days from sentencing to claim restitution if he can prove that he suffered any economic loss because of Goldtooth’s crime. The criminal damage charge was dismissed according to the plea agreement, but it is customary for the victim of the criminal damage charge to be allowed to claim any restitution from Goldtooth within the same 60-day window.

The Class 4 Felony carries a range of prison time from one and one half years to up to three and three-quarters years in prison. According to court records, Goldtooth is from Window Rock and has prior convictions for DUI, assault and public intoxication. She had moved to the county with the boyfriend and they have no local family. They once lived in New Mexico where the victim told authorities that he is scared of her when she drinks, and had suffered injury to his head from Goldtooth punching him; that was one of “several DV (domestic violence) incidences in the past,” he told authorities.

The court ordered that she be placed on four years of supervised probation with mandatory domestic violence counseling. She is also required to remain a law abiding citizen, must not possess weapons, including knives, and must have no contact with the victim. Apparently the boyfriend has had enough of Ms. Goldtooth. She was released after sentencing.

State law requires a person convicted of a domestic violence offense to undergo DV counseling. State regulations require that counseling must last from 26 to 52 classes typically once per week, and that the treatment must also screen for substance abuse. The convict has to pay for the classes. The length of treatment is imposed by bureaucrat regulators, not elected officials, and the failure to complete DV counseling is usually how offenders fail on probation, considering the time, travel and expense involved. It might be noted that probation is voluntary — the defendant must agree to be on probation. The convict can reject probation at anytime, but then is exposed to the statutory prison term; that is the proverbial carrot and the stick.

If Goldtooth does not complete the counseling, or picks up a new criminal charge within the next four years, she could have the probation revoked and sent to prison within the range stated above.

Reach the reporter at rlynch@wmicentral.com

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