Norma Jean Almodovar, the traffic officer-turned-call girl who ran for lieutenant governor last year on the Libertarian ticket, was re-sentenced Friday to a mandatory three-year state prison term for a 1984 felony pandering conviction.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aurelio Munoz, whose initial sentence of probation for Almodovar, 36, was overturned in May by a state Court of Appeal, rejected a defense motion to further stay her sentence while an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court proceeds. The state Supreme Court in June refused to review the case.
Defense attorney Lawrence Teeter argued that a postponement was logical because the state law requiring a minimum three-year sentence for pandering raises serious constitutional issues when one considers that probation can be granted for such comparatively harsh crimes as robbery or murder.
Teeter also contended that Almodovar was the victim of "selective prosecution" because state Department of Justice statistics, which he presented to Munoz, demonstrate that in the past four years, many other defendants convicted of pandering have received probation.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday August 2, 1987 Home Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 1 Metro Desk 2 inches; 48 words Type of Material: Correction
In an article in Saturday's editions of The Times, Norma Jean Almodovar, a former call girl sentenced to prison on a pandering conviction, was incorrectly described as a former Los Angeles Police Department traffic officer. She was a civilian employee of the Police Department who worked as a traffic control officer, not a sworn police officer.
Munoz, however, noted that the case was more than 3 years old and that the state appellate courts have already rejected Teeter's cause.
"I must proceed at this time," he concluded.
Munoz said at Almodovar's initial sentencing in January, 1985, "Even robbers are given probation, and she in no way is anyplace on the level with robbers. . . . It is a Procrustean statute that makes up for the shortcomings by being Draconian in nature."
The judge made no philosophical remarks Friday.
The dark-haired Almodovar--convicted of arranging a date for another traffic officer, Patricia Isgro, 50, with a man willing to pay for sex--appeared shocked and chagrined as she was led off to a holding cell by bailiffs.
Munoz, siding with Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard H. S. Weber, also rejected Teeter's final request that Almodovar be given a few days of freedom to get her affairs in order before being transported to the California Institution for Women in Frontera.
Before the sentencing hearing began, Almodovar, who has maintained a high profile with her run for office and her frequent appearances on talk shows, said in an interview with The Times that she felt "extremely angry and frustrated" at the prospects of incarceration because "there is no reason why society should remain in danger because I am free."
Almodovar maintained that she has been harassed by the Los Angeles Police Department and the district attorney's office for speaking out about prostitution and for writing a book, as yet unpublished, about her years as a traffic officer.
"Apparently the police and the D.A. are under the mistaken impression that putting me in prison will shut me up. But putting me in prison will not stop me. It will not end my fight," she added, in a prepared statement.
Almodovar's husband, Victor Savant, was more pessimistic. After the hearing, he predicted to reporters that her enemies plan to "shut her up permanently" and that "she won't survive six months in prison."
Weber said his office had done nothing but follow the state law.
"With a violation of the law," he said after the sentencing, "there is punishment to be extracted. The Legislature has stated what the punishment is for this particular act."
Weber, whose office had appealed Munoz's original sentencing, said he was not previously aware of the crime statistics cited by Teeter concerning statewide pandering sentencing. If the data is correct, he said, "it means a lot of judges are acting illegally."
Almodovar, who was granted 135 days credit for the time she already has served during a pre-sentencing psychiatric exam three years ago, will be eligible for release after serving half her sentence.