A North Bend man was sentenced to 30 months of probation on Monday in Dodge County District Court on two charges related to illegal gun possession and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
Stephen K. Mock, 31, pleaded no contest in November to one count of attempted possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a class II felony, and possession of a deadly weapon, a class III felony.
He will serve 30 months of intensive supervised probation on each count, served concurrently, and also served concurrently to another 30-month probation sentence on one count of possession of a controlled substance, a class IV felony, which Mock pleaded no contest to in May.
Mock’s defense attorney Richard Register argued that Mock was determined to receive long-term treatment for long standing issues of substance abuse, and had been applying for such programs. Some of those programs, Register noted, require the defendant to be on probation.
Register noted that Mock had explicitly expressed interest in a long-term treatment program, not a “shortest term, get me in and out of treatment” type program. Register argued that Mock showed he was serious about change. He also noted that Mock believed this treatment would be most effective in the context of probation.
“He needs the tether of the court, he needs something to say: there will be consequences if he doesn’t follow through,” Register said.
In court, Mock argued that long-term treatment would help him gain “the necessary tools to get a hold of my addiction.”
“I want to do this for my family,” Mock said.
Hall ultimately granted the probation sentence, warning Mock that failing to follow through would result in a stringent punishment. His underlying class II felony could yield between one and 50 years in prison under Nebraska law.
“That should be further motivation, because you’re looking at some serious penitentiary time,” Hall said. “Talk is cheap; now this is going to be your chance to prove.”
Prior to sentencing, Register told the court that he had received a “Brady/Giglio” notice from the Dodge County Attorney’s office. That generally refers to a law that requires prosecutors to disclose exculpatory evidence or potential issues regarding the credibility or validity of law enforcement agency witness testimony.
Register said that the notice was received after Mock made his pleas to the court. The notice would have enabled Mock to withdraw or challenge his previous pleas. But Mock chose to adhere to the plea agreement and move forward with sentencing as planned.
The Dodge County Attorney’s office did not take a stance as to sentencing on Monday, partly due to the potential issues presented in the Brady/Giglio notice, said Dodge County Deputy Attorney Emily Beamis.
Mock was arrested in October after being pulled over by the Fremont Police Department. He was subsequently found to be in possession of a handgun and a knife — both of which he was barred from possessing due to prior felony convictions. The incident occurred while he was out on bond awaiting sentencing for his drug-related charge, which he pleaded to in May.
In other district court news from Monday:
- Michael Sladek, 44, of Fremont, pleaded no contest to failing to comply with the Sex Offender Registration Act, a class IIIA felony. Sladek has been a registered sex offender since 1999, when he was convicted on a charge of attempted forcible abuse. On Monday, Sladek was found guilty of failing to complete his mandatory verification status with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office in October 2018 as required. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered and sentencing was set for March 4.
- Thomas Middleton, 45, was sentenced to a year in prison after admitting to violating the terms of his probation. Middleton had previously pleaded no contest to possession of a controlled substance, a class IV felony, and was placed on probation for 24 months. In June, he violated his probation and had his sentence extended by six months. On Monday, he again admitted to violating the terms of his probation after he failed to report to a mandatory appointment in November. He was sentenced to a year and received credit for 131 days previously served, and also received nine months of post-release supervision.
- Derek Lee, 21, violated his post-release supervision for the second time. He had started a nine-month term of post-release supervision after serving a year in the state penitentiary for terroristic threats. He first admitted to violating his post-release supervision in September and served 12 days in jail. On Monday, he admitted to violating again and was sentenced to 18 days, but also received credit for 18 days. His post-release supervision was terminated unsatisfactorily.