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State v. Lantz

Supreme Court of Nebraska

April 23, 2015

STATE OF NEBRASKA, APPELLEE,
v.
RONALD L. LANTZ, SR., APPELLANT

Appeal from the District Court for Jefferson County: PAUL W. KORSLUND, Judge.

James R. Mowbray and Kelly S. Breen, of Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy, for appellant.

Jon Bruning, Attorney General, and Stacy M. Foust for appellee.

HEAVICAN, C.J., WRIGHT, CONNOLLY, STEPHAN, McCORMACK, MILLER-LERMAN, and CASSEL, JJ.

OPINION

Page 729

Wright, J.

NATURE OF CASE

Ronald L. Lantz, Sr., was convicted of three counts of first degree sexual assault of a child, a crime which carries a mandatory minimum sentence. He was sentenced to 15 to 25 years' imprisonment on each count with two counts to be served consecutively and the third to be served concurrently with the other two.

On his direct appeal, the Nebraska Court of Appeals found plain error in the sentencing, remanded the cause, and ordered the district court to resentence Lantz to three consecutive sentences. State v. Lantz, 21 Neb.App. 679, 842 N.W.2d 216, [290 Neb. 758] (2014). On his appeal from the resentencing, we granted bypass in order to address sentencing for crimes carrying mandatory minimum penalties.

SCOPE OF REVIEW

An appellate court will not disturb a sentence imposed within the statutory limits absent an abuse of discretion by the trial court. State v. Castillas, 285 Neb. 174, 826 N.W.2d 255 (2013).

Statutory interpretation presents a question of law, which an appellate court reviews independently of the lower court's determination. State v. Smith, 286 Neb. 77, 834 N.W.2d 799 (2013).

FACTS

A jury convicted Lantz on three counts of first degree sexual assault of a child, defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-319.01 (Cum. Supp. 2014), which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years for the first offense. See, § 28-319.01(2); State v. Lantz, supra. The district court sentenced him to 15 to 25 years' imprisonment for each offense. ...


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