Judge officiates wedding for former heroin addict he sentenced to treatment

Bride and groom.

Combined ShapeCaption
Bride and groom.

A Minnesota woman battling a heroin addiction stood before a judge more than two years ago, but instead of going to jail was sentenced to an intensive drug treatment program.

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In September, Jennifer Griffith appeared before the same judge -- but this time, to be married.

Griffith and Bill Jensen were wed under a tent at the groom's Lakeville home, KARE reported. Scott County Judge Chris Wilton married the couple and told the bride that she was "one of the strongest human beings I have ever met."

Jennifer Jensen, 24, originally met the judge in a Scott County courtroom. She had been addicted to heroin since she was a teenager and was eight months pregnant when she faced Scott, KARE reported.

Instead of sending her to prison, Wilton challenged her to tackle treatment, school and employment. After two years in Scott’s program, Jensen appeared in court for the last time, discharged from probation.

Savoring her victory, she made a request to the judge, KARE reported.

“I was wondering if you could marry me and my fiancé next September?” she asked.

“I would be honored to,” Wilton said.

Jensen started the first Heroin Anonymous chapter in Minnesota and has remained drug free, KARE reported. Her son, Jaxson, is now 3 years old.

Bill Jensen is also in recovery for heroin addiction and now helps lead Heroin Anonymous meetings with his new wife, KARE reported.

The judge said Jennifer Jensen’s determination should be followed by other addicts.

“If you would have told me back then when she was 8 months pregnant using heroin that this is where I would be four years later, I might have put some money on it and bet against it, but she is a fighter, she is successful,” Wilton told KARE.

“In Scott County, it’s still an epidemic, we still have people dying every week, young people, of heroin overdose and Jennifer is a shining example of what you can do and where you can go.

“Right now, it’s a fairy tale ending.”

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