- Associated Press - Saturday, August 13, 2016

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - A former Ocean County juvenile justice officer who pleaded guilty to drug charges has lost another round in her bid to enter a pretrial intervention program.

A judge ruled Thursday that county prosecutors didn’t abuse their discretion in keeping Erica Kotelnicki out of the program that could have allowed her to avoid a potential jail sentence and criminal record. The 35-year-old Berkeley resident can appeal the ruling, but her lawyer told the Asbury Park Press (https://on.app.com/2bolFOs) that such a move was “highly unlikely.”

Kotelnicki pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of heroin with the intent to distribute. She was off-duty when she was arrested in a pharmacy parking lot, and authorities say more drugs were found at her home.

She was suspended without pay after her arrest and has since resigned.

Kotelnicki is due to be sentenced Sept. 2.

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Information from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, https://www.app.com

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