Superior court rejects appeal in drug case

A former Ebensburg wo­man with a history of drug and alcohol issues has lost her appeal to the Pennsyl­vania Superior Court and will be required to serve a six- to 12-month prison sentence imposed by a Cambria County judge.

In an opinion issued late last week, the Superior Court dismissed the appeal of Amy E. Makin, 38, who entered a guilty plea last year to charges of use or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia.

Makin, through her Altoona attorney, Matthew R. Dombrosky, contended the judge, Patrick R. Kiniry, in sentencing her to incarceration, did not consider her need for rehabilitation.

But the judge explained in his opinion that, in view of Makin’s history of criminal offenses, he did not consider rehabilitation a viable sentencing option for her.

A three-judge panel of the Superior Court, including Judges James G. Colins, Judith Olson and Paula Francisco Ott, pointed out the judge did consider Makin’s rehabilitative needs and “rejected the possibility that (Makin) could be rehabilitated given her history.”

The court stated it would “not disturb the court’s discretion, and (Makin) is not entitled to relief.”

The Superior Court pointed out that Makin had been convicted of driving under the influence six times.

She had lost her driving privileges nine times.

The court reported she had been placed on probation, community supervision and had spent “brief periods” incarcerated in the past, yet it stated she told her probation officer, who was compiling a presentence report, that she had no problems with alcohol or illegal substances.

In his opinion, Kiniry stated that those past sentences were not successful in deterring Makin from her repeated criminal activity.

The defense contended the judge had violated a “fundamental norm” of the Penn­sylvania sentencing code, which is to “individualize” sen­tences by considering protection of the public, the impact of the perpetrator’s crimes on the community and the rehabilitative needs of the defendant.

Makin, in asking Kiniry to reconsider her sentence, stated that while awaiting sentencing in the Indiana County Prison on a burglary charge, she became in­volved in numerous programs that were assisting her in rehabilitating her life.

Her petition to the Su­perior Court claimed the judge abused his discretion by not considering her rehabilitation and imposed an excessive sentence.

The Superior Court opinion, written by Colins, stated that the defense had raised a substantial question of law and agreed to address the issue, but ruled the Cambria County judge had properly disposed of the case in what it called a “well-reasoned opinion.”

State court records indicate that Makin is presently being housed in the State Correctional Institution, Cambridge Springs.

COMMENTS