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Sasser v. State

Supreme Court of Nevada

May 29, 2014

KEITH SASSER, Appellant,
v.
THE STATE OF NEVADA, Respondent

Appeal from a judgment of conviction, pursuant to a guilty plea, of one count of robbery. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County; David B. Barker, Judge.

Legal Resource Group, LLC, and T. Augustas Claus, Henderson, for Appellant.

Catherine Cortez Masto, Attorney General, Carson City; Steven B. Wolfson, District Attorney, and Jonathan VanBoskerck, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Clark County, for Respondent.

OPINION

Page 1222

BEFORE THE COURT EN BANC.

GIBBONS, C.J.:

After pleading guilty to robbery, appellant Keith Sasser requested that the district court amend his presentence investigation report (PSI) prior to sentencing to correct an error. The district court amended Sasser's PSI in the judgment of conviction, rather than amending the PSI itself. In this opinion, we address whether the district court can properly amend a PSI in the judgment of conviction.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Sasser met Dominique Montenegro at a nightclub in Las Vegas. He offered to help Montenegro find her friends and indicated that he was related to an individual in her group. After they were unable to find her group, she accepted a ride from him to her friend's house, However, Montenegro alleges that Sasser did not stop the car when they arrived at her destination. She attempted to get out of the car while it was still moving but alleges that Sasser grabbed her hair, punched her in the face, and ran over her foot with his car to prevent her from escaping. The exact order of events is unclear from Montenegro's statement, but she alleges the following events occurred: (1) Sasser hit her causing her to lose consciousness; (2) she awoke outside the vehicle, and saw Sasser going through her purse; (3) Sasser sexually assaulted her multiple times; (4) Sasser told her to " [s]hut the [explicit] up," and she thought he was going to kill her; and (5) Sasser then apologized to her. Eventually, she escaped and checked into the University Medical Center (UMC).

Sasser pleaded guilty to robbery, pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 91 S.Ct. 160, 27 L.Ed.2d 162 (1970).[1] At sentencing, Sasser requested that the district court amend his PSI to exclude certain information that he alleged was unsupported. After hearing arguments from both parties, the district court found that two pages contained unsupported information and struck part of the conclusion. These stricken portions included: (1) the alleged threats from Sasser to kill Montenegro, and (2) a dismissed sexual assault charge against Sasser in an unrelated, subsequent case. The district court noted these amendments in Sasser's judgment of conviction. Sasser requested that additional information be stricken, however, the district court found sufficient evidence to support the remaining information. The district court then sentenced Sasser pursuant to his Alford plea to a minimum of 48 months and a maximum of 120 months. Sasser now appeals.

DISCUSSION

On appeal, Sasser argues that the district court erred in (1) amending his PSI in the judgment of conviction, (2) refusing to

Page 1223

strike more information from the PSI, and (3) sentencing him. Initially, we note that a defendant has a right to object to his PSI and the district court will make a determination on the PSI information, so long as the defendant objects to it at the time of sentencing. Stockmeier v. State, Bd. of Parole Comm'rs, 127 Nev. __, __, 255 P.3d 209, 213-14 (2012); see also NRS 176.156(1). However, since we have not addressed the specific procedure for amending a PSI, we take ...


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