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3-time DUI offender gets 6 months, $15,000 in fines
Native American defense goes for naught
6/2/2011 6:01:00 AM
By Erin Taylor
KINGMAN - A second and third conviction for drunken driving will cost a Kingman man six months of freedom and $15,000 in fines.
Rex Sagely, 62, was previously found guilty by a jury last summer of one count of aggravated driving under the influence after he was stopped by a Mohave County Sheriff's deputy at Stockton Hill Road and Northern Avenue in Aug. 2008.
In that case, Sagely received a sentence of four months in prison, eight years probation and $4,600 in fines.
Sagely was back in court Wednesday to be sentenced for two other aggravated drunken driving charges following separate traffic stops in Sept. 2008 and January 2009.
Sagely, who joined the Little Shell Band of Chippewa Indians seven years ago, has long maintained that he is not subject to Arizona laws, including those covering drunken driving. He had filed multiple motions to dismiss all three charges based on this premise and other case law that prosecutors and judges have described as archaic.
The state maintained it has jurisdiction in cases that occur on non-tribal land regardless of the defendant's heritage and often replied to Sagely's multiple-page motions with a few sentences saying prosecutors can't respond because his arguments don't make sense.
Sagely was able to strike a deal with prosecutors in the latest case that guaranteed seven years probation but left the option for additional jail or prison time at the discretion of Judge Derek Carlisle.
Prosecutor Jace Zack said the probation department has characterized Sagely's cooperation with his probation from his first conviction as "ornery but compliant." Zack said he tried to treat Sagely's case independent of his "crackpot legal ideas."
Carlisle said Sagely caught a significant break in the deal with prosecutors, but the defendant may have had other notions after the judge finished reading the list of fines imposed in the case.
In addition to the six-months prison sentence, Sagely was ordered to pay a $2,500 fine for each count; a $4,200 surcharge; $500 to the DUI abatement fund; $3,000 for a prison construction fee, which is required for those convicted of drunken driving; $3,000 for a DUI assessment fee and a $20 probation surcharge, for a total $15,720. He's also ordered to pay a monthly probation fee of $65 for the seven years he is on probation.
The fees are to be paid off at a rate of $200 a month after his release from prison.
Before the sentence was handed down, Sagely remarked that he quit drinking in 2009 but that he still felt no crime had been committed because no one was injured.
"It's not like I'm a meth-making person," he said. "I'm an executive of an aerospace company."
In all three instances, Sagely refused a Breathalyzer and deputies had to do a blood draw. According to the Sheriff's Office, his blood alcohol levels measured .131 percent following the Aug. 2008 stop, .128 following the Sept. 2008 stop and .147 following the Jan. 2009 stop.
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