Woman allowed to participate in drug court

With her 16-year-old son in jail, and a teenage daughter sobbing in the courtroom audience, 33-year-old Nina Gomez asked District Judge Dave Gamble to send her to drug court for possession of heroin and methamphetamine.

"I'm trying to hold my family together," Gomez said.

"By using heroin and methamphetamine?" Gamble asked.

Her son, Jimmy Holman, 16, was convicted in November of involuntary manslaughter in the June 2009 beating death of Terrence Joe Howell.

Gomez's husband, Anthony Gomez, 30, was sentenced to eight years in Nevada State Prison in connection with the death.

Holman was to be sentenced Tuesday for probation violations, but Gamble continued the proceeding until May 4. His lawyer, Kris Brown, requested the delay because she is meeting with juvenile probation officials on Thursday to finalize a placement for Holman.

Holman was tried as an adult in the proceedings even though he was 15 at the time of the crime.

After his second probation violation, Gamble said he regretted Holman had been tried as an adult and charged his attorney with coming up with an alternative to sending him to adult prison.

Holman has been in Douglas County Jail since he was arrested Feb. 28; his mother was jailed April 11.

She was arrested shortly after midnight as she was driving out of the Tillman sandpits with a 17-year-old male passenger.

"I had meth and heroin on me in my car at the sandpits," Gomez said Tuesday. "I was intending to get high."

She told Gamble she thought the passenger, a friend of her daughter's, was 18.

"During the entire last year or so, when I have been trying to protect your son and defend your honor against the bad things in your life, you've been using narcotics and coming into my court as a criminal yourself?" Gamble asked.

Gomez said although the last 10 months had been difficult, she had been using drugs for about two months.

"I had been clean and sober for two years, but being homeless, I resorted to using drugs," she said.

She claimed not to have a criminal record.

"You do now," Gamble said.

She pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. While a felony conviction, the judge is mandated to sentence the defendant to probation.

If Gomez violates, she faces up to four years in prison.

Prosecutor Tom Gregory had no objection to admitting Gomez to Western Nevada Regional Drug Court.

"Does it feel to you as though someone is trying to tell you something?" Gamble asked. "All this gang crap just falls away when you're talking about you're daughter being taken away from you, your son in jail, and you yourself in belly chains."

Gamble allowed Gomez to participate in drug court but ordered her to stay in custody until the next session May 10.

"I'll let you try drug court," he said. "The issue is whether you are going to be a mom and a human being or just a criminal and a user."


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