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No jail time for DUI recidivist

Iowan convicted 11 times, but free

LINCOLN, Neb. -- A state appeals court upheld with ''great trepidation" yesterday a probation sentence given to a man with 11 drunken driving convictions.

The Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Melvin Rice of Sioux City, Iowa, who was sentenced to three years of probation last year after a plea bargain reduced a 12th DUI charge against him to driving while his license was revoked. A deputy sheriff said that Rice, 67, was so drunk he could hardly stand when he was pulled over in August 2003. His blood-alcohol level was .307 percent -- nearly four times the legal limit.

District Judge Maurice Redmond waived a jail sentence of six months and instead fined Rice $1,000, revoked his license for 15 years, and ordered him to not drink, perform 200 hours of community service, and complete alcohol abuse treatment. Prosecutor Edward H. Matney appealed, saying the sentence was too lenient.

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