District Judge Denise Cote
Gomez purportedly supervised a long-running heroin distribution conspiracy before returning to his native Dominican Republic in 2003. He was indicted in 2008 for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, and also of possessing a gun during and in connection with a drug trafficking crime. Arrested in the Dominican Republic in March 2010 and extradited that April, Gomez pleaded guilty, under agreement, to conspiring to distribute heroin. Both he and the government stipulated to a Sentencing Guidelines range of 262 to 327 months in prison. At allocution, Gomez acknowledged that by executing the plea agreement he waived his right to challenge any sentence not exceeding 327 months in prison. Moreover, he acknowledged understanding the court’s explanation that neither his attorney nor anyone else could predict sentence, which the court would decide. Rejecting his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, district court denied Gomez habeas relief vacating his non-guidelines 216-month sentence. The four considerations articulated by the Second Circuit in 2001 in Garcia-Santos v. United States supported enforcement of Gomez’s guilty plea as knowingly and voluntarily made.