another lingering case
A Hillsboro officer’s repeated recognition that a driver might not have a valid license led to yet another methamphetamine arrest early Friday of yet another repeat defendant whose earlier drug case has lingered in the courts without resolution.
An official offense report in the latest arrest remains pending, but according to monitored police transmissions, officer John Huebert checked the registration of a 2004 Chevrolet Malibu at 12:24 a.m. Friday in the 200 block of S. Elm St. in Hillsboro.
Asking dispatchers to check whether the owner’s license was valid, he verified that it had been suspended, with a history of 10 violations.
Huebert stopped the car and asked deputy Josh Meliza to come from Marion with his drug-sniffing dog, Karma.
Karma smelled from outside the vehicle and, according to police, indicated the presence of an odor of an illicit substance inside.
A search revealed what field testing indicated to be meth, police said.
Molly B. Schofield, 36, Hillsboro, was arrested on suspicion of possessing an undisclosed quantity of the drug.
She was jailed in lieu of a $5,000 surety bond on suspicion of possessing meth and more than once driving while her license was canceled, suspended, or revoked.
Police indicate that a charge of driving without insurance also is pending. Jail records indicate that a charge of driving without a valid license is pending instead.
Schofield had been out of jail just 11 days when Huebert stopped her.
She was jailed for two hours May 2 after a $10,000 surety bond in an earlier case was revoked.
Her jailing was cut short that day after a hearing in which judge Susan Robson allowed her to be released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.
The earlier case began more than a year and a half ago with Schofield’s arrest Sept. 3, 2020, on suspicion of drug distribution charges.
Those charges were reduced by county attorney Joel Ensey five days later when he formally charged her with possessing (rather than distributing) methamphetamine as well as possessing dextroamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia and, again, driving while her license was suspended.
Ironically, she had been stopped in that arrest in the same block by the same Hillsboro officer for the same reason — because he knew her driver’s license had been suspended.
Schofield’s residence is within that block.
After several continuances, she was arraigned in February, 2021, and her case was sent to mediation in July, 2021.
The day of her mediation hearing, her court-appointed attorney, Gary L. Price Jr. of McPherson, asked to withdraw because “communication between counsel and the defendant have broken down to such a degree that counsel cannot adequately represent the defendant.”
David E. Yoder of Newton was appointed to replace him. Several other continuances followed until a jury trial was scheduled for Feb. 24, then postponed until June 23.
Among the conditions of Schofield’s bond was that she be tested for meth use.
On March 29, according to court documents, Schofield tested positive, and Ensey moved to have her bond revoked.
A warrant for her arrest was issued April 8 by Robson. That’s what appears to have prompted Schofield’s jailing May 2, although the bond she signed afterward and the jail roster entry when she was booked states that her arrest was for violation of probation.
How Schofield would be able to pay off the $10,000 personal recognizance bond she was released under if she is too indigent to pay for her own attorney was not indicated in court records.
To date, according to court records, she has paid only $100 to the court. Amounts that may have been paid to private bail bondsmen are not included.
Her trial on the initial charges now has been postponed yet again, until July 21 and 22. No date has been set for court proceedings in the current case, as she has not yet officially been charged.
After her arrest in 2020, Hillsboro police asked for and eventually received permission to assume ownership of items confiscated during her arrest.
Included were $1,128 in cash, a 9mm Sig Sauer P320 handgun she was wearing in a holster, more than 2.7 grams (enough for two dozen doses) of methamphetamine that was hidden throughout her vehicle, an oil burner pipe, seven syringes, and a digital scale.
State laws govern how such items may he used or disposed of and what may be done with revenue derived from any sale.
At the time, Schofield was driving a different vehicle, a 2017 Jeep Commander, and according to court documents was subject to a pending meth-possession warrant from McPherson County.
That case does not appear in a new database of state court cases.
What does appear is that Schofield was accused in 2017 of criminal trespass, theft, and possession of stolen property in Butler County. That case was dismissed by prosecutors there with the possibility of it being refiled.