Man’s resentencing still on hold

HOLLIDAYSBURG — The resentencing of a Johnstown native serving 12 to 24 years in prison for selling crack cocaine in the Altoona area remains on hold.

Cornelius Andrews, 34, was scheduled Tuesday for resentencing in Blair County Court based on a ruling rendered in December by Judge Jolene G. Kopriva.

But Kopriva’s ruling is now on appeal to the state Superior Court, based on a notice filed earlier this month by First Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks.

Weeks has been challenging Andrews request for resentencing based on the timing of Andrews’ appeals and a 2012 agreement in which Andrews agreed to restrict his appeal to evidence secured from his phone.

Attorney Paul Puskar, who represented Andrews until August, had challenged Weeks’ position and offered arguments in favor of a new sentencing hearing.

Andrews’ appeal, Puskar maintained, was pending in 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision in Alleyne vs. the United. In that case, the court concluded that mandatory sentences handed down by judges were unconstitutional.

Kopriva concluded that any agreements made in 2012, almost a year before Alleyne was rendered, would have become meaningless based on the Alleyne ruling.

Andrews original sentence, imposed by Kopriva on Feb. 11, 2011, included seven years based on the judge’s application of mandatory sentences linked to the weight of the crack cocaine.

The sentence also reflected that Andrews had an additional 14 grams of crack cocaine in his possession when arrested.

Andrews’ case developed in July 2008 when drug task force agents met him at a Broad Avenue apartment where Andrews was making a delivery of 112 grams of crack cocaine with a street value of $4,000.

At the conclusion of a trial by court on Oct. 27, 2009, Kopriva convicted Andrews of delivering a controlled substance and related charges.

He wasn’t sentenced until Feb. 11, 2011, because after the trial, Andrews fled the area and remained on the run until captured in Johnstown.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456