SLO County woman who collapsed in court last week sentenced to prison

The local woman who collapsed in court last week after being denied a request to postpone her case officially was sentenced by Judge Barry LaBarbera to four years and eight months in state prison.

Michelle Astumian, 41, a 10-year county resident who had lived throughout San Luis Obispo County, was sentenced after entering a plea of no contest to forging prescriptions for drugs and using fraudulent checks. She has a 13-year history of fraud-related crimes and has served multiple prison terms.

Last week, Astumian presented a note from a doctor requesting a delay on her sentencing so she could receive treatment for serious health problems. Prosecutor Dave Pomeroy said that the doctor told him she’d never written the letter and LaBarbera prepared to sentence her. Astumian then collapsed in court, requiring an ambulance to take her to the hospital.

Astumian’s attorney, Patricia Ashbaugh, said in court Wednesday that her client wanted a delay to take care of some personal matters before her sentencing, but LaBarbera denied that request.