Sentences: Appeal and Error. An appellate court will not
disturb a sentence imposed within the statutory limits absent
an abuse of discretion by the trial court.
Statutes: Appeal and Error. The interpretation of a statute
is a question of law.
Judgments: Appeal and Error. When reviewing a question of
law, an appellate court reaches a conclusion independent of
the lower court's ruling.
Sentences. When imposing a sentence, the sentencing judge
should consider the defendant's (1) age, (2) mentality,
(3) education and experience, (4) social and cultural
background, (5) past criminal record or record of law-abiding
conduct, and (6) motivation for the offense, as well as (7)
the nature of the offense and (8) the violence involved in
the commission of the offense. The sentencing court is not
limited to any mathematically applied set of factors.
. The appropriateness of a sentence is necessarily a
subjective judgment and includes the sentencing judge's
observation of the defendant's demeanor and attitude and
all the facts and circumstances surrounding the
. It is within the discretion of the trial court to impose
consecutive rather than concurrent sentences for separate
crimes. This is true even when the crimes arise out of the
Sentences: Appeal and Error. While an appellate court
typically reviews criminal sentences that are within
statutory limits for abuse of discretion, the appellate court
always reserves the right to note plain error which was not
complained of at trial or on appeal.
Appeal and Error: Words and Phrases. Plain error is error of
such a nature that to leave it uncorrected would result in
damage to the integrity, reputation, or fairness of the
judicial process. [296 Neb. 173]
Sentences. A determinate sentence is imposed when the
defendant is sentenced to a single term of years.
. With a determinate sentence, the court does not provide a
minimum term; the minimum term is considered to be the
minimum term provided by law.
. When imposing an indeterminate sentence, a sentencing court
ordinarily articulates either a minimum term and maximum term
or a range of time for which a defendant is to be
.In Nebraska, the fact that the minimum term and maximum term
of a sentence are the same does not affect the sentence's
status as an indeterminate sentence.
from the District Court for Lancaster County: Lori A. Maret,
Wm. Chap in, Jr., for appellant.
Douglas J. Peterson, Attorney General, and Sarah E. Marfisi
Heavican, C.J., Wright, Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Kelch,
and Funke, JJ.
NATURE OF CASE
Q. Artis was sentenced to not less than 2 years nor more than
2 years of imprisonment for possession of a controlled
substance, a Class IV felony, and to 15 to 20 years'
imprisonment for possession of a stolen firearm, a Class IIA
felony. These sentences were ordered to be served
consecutively. From these sentences, Artis appeals, alleging
that they are excessive and that they should have been
imposed to run concurrently.
Artis' appeal was pending, a legislative
was enacted, which, among other things, amended Neb. Rev.
Stat. § 29-2204.02 (Reissue 2016) to provide that
"the court shall impose an indeterminate sentence"
for Class IV felonies [296 Neb. 174] imposed consecutively or
concurrently with a sentence for a Class IIA felony "in
accordance with the process set forth in section
light of the amendment to § 29-2204.02, this court must
determine whether Artis' sentence of not less than 2
years nor more than 2 years of imprisonment constitutes plain
September 22, 2015, Artis was wanted for fleeing to avoid a
traffic citation. In pursuit of Artis, a Lincoln police
officer was patrolling by a residence that Artis was known to
frequent. While the officer checked the residence, he
observed a person driving away in a vehicle. As the vehicle
passed the officer, the officer smelled marijuana and
initiated a traffic stop. Artis was a passenger in the back
seat of the vehicle.
occupants were removed from the vehicle one at a time, with
Artis being the last person to exit. Artis fled on foot, and
a chase ensued. According to Artis' statement in the
presentenc-ing report, Artis had a gun and knew the officer
had seen it. Artis then ran for a few blocks before he was
surrounded by law enforcement. Artis kept running after
officers told him to stop. At the time, Artis had the gun in
his hand. Officers shot at Artis four times, hitting him
to being transported to the hospital, articles of
Artis:clothing were removed by medical personnel
and left at the scene. Found near his clothing was a white
plastic cylinder containing 4.9 grams of cocaine. Also
recovered at the scene was a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol
with a fully loaded magazine containing seven rounds, as well
as two additional magazines, each fully loaded with seven
rounds. A firearm "trace" revealed that the firearm
had been stolen.
Charges and Plea Agreement
was originally charged with three counts of possession of
controlled substances. Count I was for cocaine, and counts II
and III were for oxycodone and alprazolam. Artis [296 Neb.
175] was also charged with possession of a stolen firearm.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, Artis pled no contest to one
count of possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and