By SUSAN OLP
Anne Palmersheim, who pleaded guilty to her eighth offense of drunken driving in May, was sentenced Monday to 30 years in the Montana Women’s Prison, with all but 13 months suspended.
Yellowstone County Deputy Attorney John Petak said later in the day that he believes Palmersheim will have to be resentenced.
Palmersheim appeared Monday morning for the sentencing before District Judge G. Todd Baugh. Baugh initially postponed the sentencing for a week because Palmersheim’s lawyer, Billings attorney David Duke, wasn’t in the courtroom. Duke showed up just before the court session ended, and Baugh proceeded with the sentencing. Petak said his office recommended a sentence of seven years at the women’s prison, with two years suspended.
Because Palmersheim had been convicted of a second felony within five years of the first, the county attorney’s office charged her as a persistent felony offender. That means Palmersheim should have been sentenced to be incarcerated not less than five years and not more than 100 years, Petak said.
Instead, Baugh sentenced Palmersheim to 30 years with all but 13 months suspended, four years of supervised probation and 25 years of unsupervised probation.
Petak said Baugh was made aware of the persistent felony offender designation, and said it would be up to the judge to decide what to do. Petak said under state law, Palmersheim’s attorney could seek an exception to the mandatory minimum sentencing law.
Palmersheim, of 512 Miles Ave., was arrested on her eighth DUI offense on Feb. 7 after she ran her car into a bathtub in a yard in the 1000 block of Broadwater Avenue. Officers found an uninjured Palmersheim still in her car, which was sitting partially on top of the tub.
According to court records, when the police officer asked what happened, Palmersheim said she didn’t do it. Officers sprayed Palmersheim with pepper spray after she kicked the windows of the patrol car while on the way to the jail. She pleaded guilty on May 8 and admitted that what she had done was wrong.