Statutes: Appeal and Error. Statutory
interpretation presents a question of law, which an appellate
court reviews independently of the lower court's
Criminal Law: Statutes: Legislature:
Sentences. Generally, if the Legislature amends a
criminal statute by mitigating the punishment after the
commission of a prohibited act but before final judgment, the
punishment is that provided by the amendatory act unless the
Legislature specifically provided otherwise.
Statutes: Appeal and Error. Statutory
language is to be given its plain and ordinary meaning, and
an appellate court will not resort to interpretation to
ascertain the meaning of statutory words which are plain,
direct, and unambiguous.
Statutes. It is not within the province of a court to read a
meaning into a statute that is not warranted by the language;
neither is it within the province of a court to read anything
plain, direct, or unambiguous out of a statute.
Statutes: Legislature: Intent. In reading a
statute, a court must determine and give effect to the
purpose and intent of the Legislature as ascertained from the
entire language of the statute considered in its plain,
ordinary, and popular sense.
___: ___. Components of a series or collection of statutes
pertaining to a certain subject matter are in pari materia
and should be conjunctively considered and construed to
determine the intent of the Legislature, so that different
provisions are consistent, harmonious, and sensible.
Sentences: Legislature: Intent: Time. The
Legislature did not intend penalty reductions made in 2015 to
Class IIIA felonies to apply retroactively to offenses
committed prior to August 30, 2015.
Neb. 178] 8. Appeal and Error: Words and
Phrases. Plain error exists where there is error,
plainly evident from the record but not complained of at
trial, which prejudicially affects a substantial right of a
litigant and is of such a nature that to leave it uncorrected
would cause a miscarriage of justice or result in damage to
the integrity, reputation, and fairness of the judicial
from the District Court for Box Butte County: Travis P.
Island, of Island & Huff, PC, L.L.O., for appellant.
Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Nathan A. Liss for
Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Miller-Lerman, Cassel,
Stacy, and Kelch, JJ.
A. Aguallo appeals his sentence for sexual assault of a
child, third degree. He contends the district court erred in
failing to retroactively apply recent statutory amendments
which reduced the penalty for Class IIIA felonies. We find
the reduced penalty provisions do not apply to Aguallo, and
we affirm his conviction and sentence.
March 4, 2015, the State filed an information charging
Aguallo with sexual assault of a child, third degree, in
violation of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-320.01 (Reissue 2008).
The offense was alleged to have occurred on or about January
25, 2015. He entered a plea of no contest on July 17. On
September 9, he was sentenced to a prison term of 59 to 60
sentencing, the district court considered the effect of
certain amendments made to Nebraska's sentencing laws by
2015 Neb. Laws, L.B. 605. We describe some of LB. 605's
changes while reciting the facts of the sentencing hearing,
and we analyze the applicability of those legislative changes
later in the opinion.
Neb. 179] L.B. 605 amended Nebraska law to, among other
things, reduce the penalties for a variety of felonies.
Before L.B. 605. Class IIIA felonies were punishable by a
maximum of 5 years' imprisonment, a $10, 000 fine, or
both, with no minimum term of imprisonment. L.B. 605 reduced
the maximum term of imprisonment for Class IIIA felonies from
5 to 3 years and added maximum and minimum terms of
605 also amended the indeterminate sentencing scheme for
Nebraska felonies. Prior to L.B. 605, Neb. Rev. Stat. §
29-2204 (Reissue 2008) required the court to
fix the minimum and maximum limits of the sentence to be
served within the limits provided by law for any class of
felony other than a Class IV felony .... If the criminal
offense is a Class IV felony, the court shall fix the minimum
and maximum limits of the sentence, but the minimum limit
fixed by the court shall not be . . . more than one-third of
the maximum term . . . .
as it existed before L.B. 605, § 29-2204 authorized
indeterminate sentencing for all felonies and, except for
Class IV felonies, courts could impose an indeterminate
sentence with identical minimum and ...