Screven County Grand Jury Indicts Derriso in Inmate Contraband Case, Additional Charges Added

A Screven County Grand Jury recently returned a True Bill of Indictment against Hannah Reeves Derriso in the contraband case against her involving an inmate. Also included in the indictment are charges against a co-defendant, Santonyo Monteza Boyd.

A grand jury convened in early April to assess a number of criminal cases in Screven County to decide whether or not sufficient evidence existed to bind the cases over for formal prosecution in superior court. These proceedings by a grand jury are not open to the public, but their decisions are filed in open court.

The indictment, returned on April 3, includes four charges, two for Derriso and two for Boyd, which is an increase from the initial charges taken out by the Sylvania Police Department in January.

Hannah Reeves Derriso, 36 of Sylvania, was booked into the Screven County Jail on January 25, 2023. She was charged by the Sylvania Police Department for providing a cell phone and tobacco to a Screven County Correctional Institute inmate working at the courthouse on a prison work detail. Derriso was the Elections Supervisor for the Screven County Elections Office, which is housed in the Screven County Courthouse in Sylvania. She also wrote for The Sylvania Times. 

Santonyo Monteza Boyd is a former inmate of Screven County Correctional Institute. According to GDC records, he’s serving a ten-year sentence, which began in January 2022, for Trafficking Methamphetamine, among other things. The 48-year-old was convicted in Troup County in West Georgia. He has since been transferred to Wilcox State Prison in Abbeville. It is also a medium security facility, but of a much larger size, housing upwards of 1,800 inmates. More on Boyd below.

Indictment

Warrants for Derriso initially charged her with one count of violating OCGA § 42-5-18 – Items Prohibited for Possession by Inmates. The April indictment includes two counts of the same offense against her. One count is for the cell phone and the other is for a tobacco product.

Similarly, Boyd was charged with two counts of the same code section, but the subsection which applies to inmates. Boyd is charged with the unlawful possession of the phone and the tobacco.

Possible Sentence for Derriso

Under O.C.G.A. § 42-5-18(b), it is unlawful for any person to “obtain for, to procure for, or to give to an inmate a gun, pistol, or any other weapon; any intoxicating liquor; amphetamines, biphetamines, or any other hallucinogenic drugs or other drugs, regardless of the amount; any telecommunications device; or any other article or item without the authorization of the warden or superintendent or his or her designee.” 

Any person found guilty of this offense would be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of two years but not more than ten years. Additionally, the court would be barred from suspending or probating the mandatory minimum sentence of two years, meaning it would be required that the individual serve time in a state prison. 

Also worth noting, in 2017, the Georgia General Assembly amended the law to make no distinction in punishment if the inmate to whom contraband was provided was inside or outside the facility at the time of the provision of contraband. Meaning, the offense is the same irrespective of where the phone was provided to the individual. 

Possible Sentence for Boyd

Under O.C.G.A. § 42-5-18(c), it’s unlawful for an inmate to possess a gun, pistol, or any other weapon; any intoxicating liquor; tobacco or any product containing tobacco; amphetamines, biphetamines, or any other hallucinogenic drugs or other drugs, regardless of the amount; a telecommunications device; or any other item without the authorization of the warden or superintendent or his or her designee.

Any inmate who commits or attempts to commit this act and is found guilty would be guilty of a felony and subject to a one-to-five-year sentence in prison.

What’s Next?

Following a grand jury indictment, the court schedules an Arraignment date for the charges to be formally read to the defendants. A court date has not been set. Attorneys for Derriso and Boyd will receive discovery information from prosecutors which will detail the evidence against each.

According to court records, Derriso is represented by Metter-based attorney Cindy Delgado. There is no attorney on record for Boyd.

Read the Indictment
https://cdn.thegeorgiavirtue.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Screven_Superior_SUCR2023000060_Indictment-1.pdf
Who is Santonyo Boyd?
As previously reported:

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and co-creator of of the Peabody Award-nominated podcast 'Prison Town.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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