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PROBATION RESCINDED; NEW DWI SENTENCE DUE

The Nebraska Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a sentence of probation given to a man with 11 drunken driving convictions, saying the penalty was too lenient.

Melvin Rice, 67, of Sioux City, Iowa, was sentenced by a judge last year to three years of probation, fined $1,000 and stripped of his driving privileges after a plea bargain reduced his 12th DUI charge to driving while his license was revoked.

A sheriff's deputy said Rice had an open container of whiskey in the vehicle when he was stopped in 2003 and was so drunk he could hardly stand. His blood-alcohol level was 0.307 percent, nearly four times the legal limit of 0.08.

Supreme Court Judge Kenneth Stephan said, "It is difficult to discern a need or justification for leniency in this case."

The court ordered Rice resentenced. He could be given up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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