Inmate seeks sentence review
Alberts-Gomez thought her jail time would be served concurrently
HOLLIDAYSBURG — An Altoona woman accused of running a heroin-selling operation with her husband is asking a Blair County judge to vacate her 10- to 20-year prison term because it turned into a longer sentence.
Jacqueline C. Alberts-Gomez, 34, rendered guilty pleas in May 2017 to several drug-trafficking charges in exchange for a 10- to 20-year prison sentence. But she also believed, she said, that her pending jail time for a parole violation could be served at the same time and has since found out that it cannot.
So instead of 10 to 20 years, Alberts-Gomez said her guilty pleas generated a minimum sentence of 14 years, three months and 12 days.
“I was under the impression that I’d serve 10 years and get out at the same time as my husband,” Alberts-Gomez told Judge Elizabeth Doyle, who is examining her complaint.
Alberts-Gomez’s husband, Norman “P” Gomez, also received a 10- to 20-year sentence by pleading guilty to operating a corrupt organization, dealing in proceeds of an unlawful activity, criminal conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver and related charges.
Unlike his wife, Gomez had no prior record and his 10- to 20-year sentence remains intact. He is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Pine Grove in Indiana County.
Alberts-Gomez, who is incarcerated at SCI Muncy near Williamsport, said that if she had known there was no chance of being able to serve concurrent sentences, she would have gone to trial.
“I wouldn’t have taken that plea,” she said in court.
First Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks reminded Alberts-Gomez that on the day she pleaded, he stated in court that her incarceration time on the parole violation would be up to the state parole board. Weeks also acknowledged advising Thomas Farrell, her attorney at the time, that he would file no objections to her serving concurrent sentences.
Farrell testified that his client had been interested in going to trial. But she changed her mind, he said, after learning that she might be able to serve concurrent sentences.
Farrell, questioned in court by Alberts-Gomez’s current attorney, Philip Masorti of State College, said he wasn’t aware at the time of the plea of the statute prohibiting his client from concurrent sentences.
Farrell also acknowledged that had his client gone to trial and been convicted, she could have been facing 40 years’ incarceration.
Masorti asked Alberts-Gomez if she understood that her current pursuit could cause the judge to vacate her sentence and put her back on the trial list to answer the criminal charges. She acknowledged the possibility.
Masorti also advised Alberts-Gomez of the commonwealth’s willingness to resolve the dispute by reducing the 10-to 20-year sentence to an 8-to 10-year sentence. Alberts-Gomez said no. She has previously claimed to have very limited involvement in her husband’s heroin-trafficking business.
Police arrested the husband and wife in December 2015 after an investigation identified them at the top of of an organization that regularly brought large quantities of heroin to Altoona from New York.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.