SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 14, 2014

Woman granted stay in OUI case is found drunk in home

SALEM — The Salem woman whose lawyer was able to convince a judge to keep her out of jail while she appeals her third drunken-driving conviction was put behind bars yesterday to serve out her six-month sentence.

Ellen Kelleher, 59, of 37 Belleview Ave., had been ordered on Monday not to drink as a condition of the stay of her sentence as she awaits the outcome of her appeal.

But on Wednesday, during a home inspection by her probation officer and a Salem police officer, Kelleher was drunk, registering .13 on a portable Breathalyzer, a probation officer reported to the court yesterday.

As a result, Salem District Court Judge Robert Brennan ordered Kelleher into custody to begin serving her time.

It’s now likely that Kelleher will have completed the committed portion of her sentence before the appeal in her case is heard.

Kelleher was found guilty Monday by a Salem District Court jury on a charge of third-offense drunken driving, a charge filed after her arrest in March 2013.

Judge Michael Lauranzano imposed a two-year jail term, with 180 days to be served and the balance suspended for 18 months, during which Kelleher will be on probation. That was the sentence requested by prosecutor Patrick Collins.

But Lauranzano had agreed to a request to stay the sentence while Kelleher appealed. Her attorney, John Ronan, argued that the judge should have suppressed evidence obtained as a result of police visiting her home, about 20 minutes after getting a call from a neighbor about Kelleher driving erratically.

Yesterday Ronan requested that Kelleher, who appeared frail and unusually pale, be allowed to serve her time at the Women in Transition program in Salisbury, where she can take part in alcohol treatment.

She will also lose her license for eight years.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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