City man’s appeal rejected by court
Case involves three sentences
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has rejected an appeal by an Altoona man who complained that his sentence for a violation of probation, added to a sentence imposed as the result of an aborted drug deal, resulted in an “excessive aggregate sentence.”
A three-judge panel of the appeals court has ruled that Carlos Andrew Norton, 26, did not explain how the overall sentence of 10.5 to 29 years, imposed by Blair County President Judge Elizabeth A. Doyle in March 2019, violated Pennsylvania’s sentencing code.
The Superior Court opinion written by Judge Alice Dubow stated that Norton made several “bald assertions” that his sentence was excessive but didn’t go into enough detail to pose what she called a “substantial question” that would allow the court to overrule Judge Doyle’s sentences.
Norton, represented on appeal by Altoona attorney Matthew R. Dombrosky, contended the judge did not consider mitigating factors when sentencing him, but Dubow stated, “He does not articulate which mitigating factor or individualized circumstance the court failed to consider.”
The case in reality involves three separate sentences imposed on Norton, beginning in 2014.
His sentence in September of that year was 11.5 to 23 months in the Blair County Prison, followed by eight years of probation, on a charge of conspiracy to commit possession with intent to deliver.
In 2017, while on probation, Norton was charged with attempted homicide and robbery.
Those charges stemmed from an incident six months prior that was described by police as a “heroin deal gone bad.”
A couple had arrived at the home of a woman in the city’s Juniata section to purchase heroin, but the woman had accused the couple of stealing heroin from her the week before.
An argument ensued concerning the alleged stolen heroin and as the other couple began to drive away, Norton fired several shots from a handgun at the fleeing car.
According to the Superior Court, Norton pleaded guilty to attempted homicide and robbery on
March 4, 2019,and received a sentence of 8.5 to 25 years.
Two weeks later, Judge Doyle held a probation violation hearing resulting from his 2014 sentence. She added another two to four years for the probation violation.
The judge told Norton that when he gets out of jail, possibly by age 35, research indicated at that age “people come to more of an understanding … of, you know, a proper way to live their lives.”
Because of the remorse Norton expressed about the shooting incident, she said it showed that he was beginning to follow “that path and away from the thinking he exhibited before.”
“We think this (the probation violation sentence) is appropriate to protect the community for the next at least 10.5 years,” the judge stated.
Norton then appealed the additional two- to four-year sentence for probation violation.
He is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon.
Dubow’s opinion was joined by judges Mary P. Murray and Gene Strassburger.
The woman involved in the drug deal was sentenced to four to 10 years behind bars.