Mother in drinking party case takes deal

BELLEFONTE — A Benner Township woman who had been facing almost 40 criminal counts for allegedly sanctioning an underage drinking party at her home ended up pleading guilty to four liquor law violations and paying a $2,000 fine Tuesday.

Jodi Lynn Robbins, of Armagast Road, originally was charged by state police with counts of selling or furnishing alcohol to minors, unlawful acts relative to liquor, malt and brewed beverages and licenses, corruption of minors and a single count of criminal conspiracy.

State police said she and her husband, who was later cleared of any involvement, were home at the time of an underage drinking party and were aware juveniles were drinking at their home Nov. 6. Charges against her husband, Mark C. Robbins, were dismissed at a preliminary hearing last year.

Jodi Lynn Robbins, through her attorney, Joe Amendola, maintained her innocence and vowed to fight the charges at trial. But when the offer was made — four ungraded misdemeanors that carried no jail time or probation — Amendola said making the deal was wise.

“It’s essentially a summary,” Amendola said. “It carries no sentence, only a fine.”

The plea seemed a reversal of a tough stance months ago by Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira.

At that time, Madeira had said he would not allow Robbins to enter the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, or ARD, because the severity of the alleged offenses, involving 15, 16, and 17-year-old children. ARD would have allowed Robbins to undergo a probationary period and perform other court-ordered tasks and, in exchange, the charges would be dismissed and her record cleared.

Madeira said Wednesday that he accomplished his objective in giving Robbins a permanent record while forcing her to accept responsibility for her actions.

“It gives her a record while recognizing this is a tough case,” Madeira said. “It involves high school students who didn’t want to cooperate.”