Shawnda Petty (also known as Mills) got a break Monday in Lincoln County District Court when Judge Richard Birch sentenced her to probation for her fourth offense of driving under the influence.
Petty will be on probation for four years, and spend 60 days in jail for the DUI and an accompanying charge of child abuse.
Birch choose probation, even though the pre-sentence investigation report did not recommend it.
Prosecutor Angela Franz said a prison sentence would be called for.
“Petty has had drug abuse issues for almost 30 years, on probation on more than one occasion, and on this particular instance, her two minor children were in the car while she was under the influence of alcohol,” Franz said. “So I can’t with any conscience recommend anything other than a term of incarceration in the Nebraska Department of Corrections.”
Defense Attorney Patrick Heng argued for probation. He said since Petty’s arrest July 1, she successfully completed a treatment program and is doing well now, living in a half-way house.
Petty apologized to the court for how her life was going. She said she is trying to move forward and wants to get her children back.
Birch said the presentence investigation report seemed contradictory.
“Ms. Franz is correct, the PSI doesn’t recommend probation, on the basis that apparently you are not a high enough risk to society,” Birch said. “I am not criticizing the probation office, because I understand they have rules and guidelines. Because you are not a high enough risk they put you in jail, which seems contradictory to me.”
He said Petty, 40, has a lengthy criminal history. Nevertheless, he gave her credit for her progress.
“But you certainly are a risk, and even if we put you in jail, when you get out, we put you on post-release supervision anyway. So the best chance to bring your problem under control is to put you on probation, and that is what I am going to do.”
In addition to probation, Birch fined Petty $2,000 and suspended her license for 15 years, which is mandatory for the fourth-offense DUI conviction. Birch gave her dollar-for-dollar credit against her fines for money she spent for treatment, and he credited her for 30 days spent in jail.
After the victim changed her accusation against Nicholas Ohmes, he was released from jail even though he was convicted of third-degree domestic assault.
Ohmes, 28, was arrested Oct. 31 after a woman who told police that Ohmes, the father of her child, assaulted her and threw a pot of boiling water on her, burning her upper arm and elbow.
But the victim amended her story and said he threw a spoonful of water instead of a pot full, Defense Attorney Kent Florom told the court.
Ohmes pled no contest in a plea bargain that reduced the charge to a misdemeanor.
Ohmes sentenced to 120 days in jail, equivalent to the time he’s already served.
County Attorney Rebecca Harling recommended Ohmes be sentenced to time already served.
Birch gave Ohmes credit for 70 days served. With good time credit, it was enough to complete the sentence and left him several days to use to cover court costs.
Candice Valentine, 28, was convicted of assaulting an inmate while she was in jail on Dec. 1, and also convicted for possession of methamphetamine on Oct. l0.
She was sentenced to 240 days in jail for possession and after that, another 30 days for the assault.
Valentine pled no contest to both charges. In exchange for her plea, the county dropped two other charges pending against her.
Birch gave her 105 days credit on the possession case and also sentenced her to nine months post-release probation when she gets out of jail.
Heather Granados, 32, was convicted of a possession of meth on May 16. He was sentenced to 24 months specialized substance abuse probation.
Carl McKinney, 31, was sentenced to 364 days in jail for a theft on April 29 and given credit for 153 days served.
Elizabeth Lucas, 37, was convicted of third-degree domestic assault and sentenced to 14 months probation.