AUGUSTA — When Carol Jean Gordon came to court Tuesday to plead guilty to two charges of trafficking in cocaine, she anticipated a sentence that included six months behind bars.
But the judge rejected the plea deal, which was supported jointly by defense attorney J. Mitchell Flick and prosecutor Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley.
“I won’t accept anything less than nine months,” Justice Donald Marden said during the hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court. “This cocaine and heroin business is an epidemic, and all it does is bring misery. As long as they’re slapping people on the wrist, they’re going to continue to do it.”
Because the period of imprisonment was longer than Gordon had agreed to, Marden told her she could withdraw her guilty pleas.
He also encouraged her to apply to Co-occurring Disorders Court, a specialty court designed to assist defendants who have underlying mental health and substance abuse problems.
But Gordon, 43, of Augusta, said she’d take the nine-month sentence.
“I want to get out, be clean and see my granddaughter,” Gordon said. She and Flick said she would have difficulty getting transportation to and from several weekly appointments that are part of the intense court program. She also had yet to find a place to live.
Marden sentenced Gordon to three years in jail, with all but nine months suspended, and two years of probation; and he imposed the mandatory $800 in fines.
Sibley said Gordon sold 0.7 grams of cocaine base for $100 at her home on April 26, 2013, and then sold 1.4 grams to an undercover agent on May 1, 2013, at a different location on Water Street in Augusta. In exchange for the guilty plea, two other cocaine trafficking charges were dismissed by the prosecution.
Flick argued that six months in jail was an appropriate sentence, saying Gordon had no significant criminal record and that the amounts of drugs sold were relatively small. He also said Gordon was dealing with mental illness resulting from an incident in which Gordon and her boyfriend were swept over Moxie Falls. The boyfriend died and Gordon was injured seriously in that July 2005 accident.
Sibley said Gordon cooperated with law enforcement officers when she was arrested and that out-of-state drug dealers who sold her heroin were looking at six-year terms in prison.
In a separate hearing in the same court on Tuesday, Ghe Joe Grip, 34, of Smithfield, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for domestic violence assault Jan. 8 in Waterville.
Betty Adams — 621-5631 email@example.com