2nd drug conviction gets man 10 years, no parole

July 16, 1992|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

A 19-year-old Severn man, sentenced under the state's repeat-offender statute, received a 10-year mandatory prison term without parole yesterday after his second conviction on drug charges.

Leonard E. Goliday was convicted May 14 of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, illegal possession of a handgun and driving with a suspended license by Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr., who ordered the sentence.

A year ago, Judge Thieme sentenced Goliday to five years of probation after he pleaded guilty in April 1991 to cocaine distribution. Last October, Goliday was charged with violating probation, court records show.

Yesterday, Gill Cochran, Goliday's attorney, said he will appeal the mandatory sentence.

"It's kind of harsh, isn't it?" he said after the hearing. "A 10-year sentence without parole, this must seem to be an eternity for a youngster."

Goliday's first conviction came after police, armed with a search warrant, found 1.75 grams of crack cocaine and a large quantity of plastic bags used for packaging the drug in the bedroom of the Odenton house where he was living in January 1991.

He was arrested again on Nov. 28, 1991, after county police stopped him for making an illegal left turn in Glen Burnie and found he was driving with a suspended license. The officers searched his van and found a loaded gun and crack cocaine on a passenger. They also found three .38-caliber bullets in Goliday's front jacket pocket.

"You gave him a break last time," Prosecutor Patrick J. Bell told Judge Thieme in arguing for the mandatory sentence. "And apparently it didn't even slow him down from the distribution of cocaine. And to make matters worse, he's armed himself in the meantime with a handgun."

Goliday said little, acknowledging that he "did wrong," and asking the judge for leniency.

But in a letter to Judge Thieme dated May 25, Goliday spoke of his struggle the past three years with a drug habit and the loss he felt when his father died three years ago.

"Me and my father had a strong relationship, and when he departed my life, I felt as if my life was downhill," he wrote. "This tragic feeling pushed me into using drugs that I thought would solve my problem."

After his first arrest, he "realized that my life had to change. I went and found me a job and a lady that loves me. This lady is now carrying my baby and needs my support."

He said he had been going to a drug treatment center to kick his habit, although court records show he was thrown out after he failed to follow the center's recommendation that he enter a 28-day inpatient program and was therefore terminated.

He wrote that he was getting his life back together when "a total mistake happened."

"I caught this serious charge of conspiracy to sell drugs and I am looking at 10 years, no parole," he fretted. "Mr. Thieme, I have never in my life been scared like this."

Prison would not help him, "being that there are more drugs in jail than on the streets."

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