Dad accused of selling heroin in Greensburg maternity ward seeks admission to drug court
A Latrobe man accused of selling heroin in the Excela Health Westmoreland hospital maternity ward room where others were visiting his newborn daughter on Oct. 19 wants to be admitted to the county's intensive drug treatment court program.
Cody Hulse, 25, appeared Thursday before Greensburg District Judge Chris Flanigan with his attorney, Randall Ricciuti of Pittsburgh, to formally sign paperwork waiving his right to a preliminary hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Caravello stressed that there is no plea agreement.
“It's just a general hearing waiver. There is no plea agreement in place,” he said.
Ricciuti corroborated Caravello's explanation.
“We're making application for Cody to be admitted into the county's drug court program. Court is supposed to be about rehabilitation, and this drug court program has a proven record of successful treatment. And we believe he is certainly a well-qualified candidate,” Ricciuti said.
Hulse is charged with manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance, possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of children.
He was arrested by Greensburg police after city Detective John Swank stopped a vehicle on North Main Street in Greensburg and found heroin and paraphernalia. The occupants told Swank they had just bought the drugs from Hulse at the Greensburg hospital where Hulse's girlfriend had given birth earlier in the day.
Officers went to the maternity room and confronted Hulse, who admitted selling the drugs and had heroin in his pocket, Swank reported in an affidavit of probable cause. Police confiscated 34 stamp bags of suspected heroin marked “Final Call” along with a hypodermic needle and two caps.
Police say Hulse's girlfriend, the baby's mother, told them she didn't know about the drug deals.
“Cody is not a bad guy. ... He's young and deserves another chance. We should look at rehabilitating and helping him .... not just letting him sit and rot in jail,” Ricciuti said.
Through 2017, 14 participants have completed the county treatment court's strict requirements.
The special court was initiated in 2015 as county officials struggled with a surging drug epidemic that has flooded courtrooms with cases and prisons with addicted inmates. In exchange for their participation, the defendants can get mitigated sentences.
However, they first must go through a rigorous process that includes months of close supervision by probation officials and one of two judges, as well as attending regular therapy sessions, undergoing drug tests and keeping a diary.
Ricciuti hopes to hear whether Hulse is accepted into the program before his formal common pleas court arraignment April 18 before Judge Christopher A. Feliciani.
Hulse remains in the county prison on $100,000 bond where he has been held since his arrest.