After Clean Hair Drug Test, Former Bank Robber Released on Probation
Last week, the severity of the punishment for a bank robber's probation revocation hung by a hair.
Joshua Beckstead was to be released from custody at a treatment center in Sheridan, but violated his probation by accepting a box of drug test kits from a former roommate, which could have sent him back to jail.
So Chief U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl wanted to know if Beckstead had relapsed and ordered a follicle test to determine if he had been using controlled substance.
The hair held.
"The test confirmed Mr. Beckstead has remained sober," Skavdahl announced during the continued probation revocation hearing in federal court in Casper on Tuesday.
The petition to revoke Beckstead's probation didn't go away with this result because accepting the drug test kits was still a violation.
But the negative hair test results meant he was maintaining sobriety and would not return to jail with an enhanced punishment for relapsing.
Skavdahl asked Federal Probation Officer Josh Oster about Beckstead's plans.
Oster said Beckstead intends to continue drug treatment, and he should be given credit for time served in jail.
Assistant U.S. District Attorney Stephanie Sprecher agreed.
Federal Public Defender Tracy Hucke said Beckstead was serious about getting out Tuesday. Taking the drug test kits was a mistake.
"He wasn't trying to hide anything," Hucke said. "He has remained sober."
His car recently was hit, but he had a ride to Sheridan, a change of clothes, temporary places to stay and a plan for his release.
Beckstead said he appreciated his pending release.
Last week, Skavdahl lit into Beckstead for accepting the drug test kits, asking "You put (the drug test kits) in a suitcase. What were you going to with them? Take them to the beach?"
Tuesday, the judge was calmer.
He said the test kits posed a problem because they implied Beckstead wanted to hedge his bets if he relapsed.
"Don't fall off the wagon," Skavdahl said.
He also asked Beckstead to write a letter about where he is living and how his sobriety is progressing.
In handing down the sentence for the probation violation, Skavdahl said Beckstead would get credit for time served plus another 14 months supervised release.
"Mr. Beckstead, I wish you the best," Skavdahl said.