Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nebraska Supreme Court slaps the Sarpy District Court again for mishandling repeat drunk drivers' sentencingsState v. Caniglia, 272 Neb. 662 Filed December 8, 2006. No. S-05-069. Earlier this year in State v Vasquez S-05-1019, 271 Neb. 906 the Supreme Court reversed tthe Court of Appeals for trying to impose a real sentence on a repeat drunk driver from Sarpy County. Too bad the State was unable to challenge that lenient sentence because it was a misdemeanor. This time in State v Caniglia, the Appeals Court wanted to impose an appropriate sentence on the defendant Caniglia who faced resentencing after the court revoked her DWI 4th offense probation. Sarpy County District court however imposed no sentence. The Nebraska supreme Court rules that no sentence is no judgment, and reverses the case to the district court. This time however as a felony the State can appeal any ridiculously lenient sentence Sarpy Countydecides to impose.The district court found that Caniglia violated probation but failed to issue a proper order under § 29-2268. In particular, the district court did not impose a sentence. Because there was no sentence, the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal brought by the prosecuting attorney claiming an excessively lenient sentence under § 29-2320. The Court of Appeals erred when it concluded that it had jurisdiction and thereafter considered the merits. Because the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction, we vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the cause to the Court of Appeals with directions to vacate the order of the district court and remand the cause to the district court with directions to enter a proper order outlining the consequences resulting from the finding that Caniglia had violated probation.

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