Statement as issued Thursday by Noble County Prosecutor Steven Clouse:
A Noble Superior Court II jury found Robert D. Rice, Age 53, of Kendallville guilty of Operating While Intoxicated – Causing Endangerment, a class A misdemeanor. The same jury also found that Rice qualified to be sentenced as a Habitual Substance Offender.
Rice was charged on September 24, 2012 by the Noble County Prosecutor’s Office after having been arrested on September 22, 2012 by Patrolman Glen Wills of the Kendallville Police Department.
According to evidence introduced by Deputy Prosecutor J. Everett Newman at trial today, Rice tested .14 on the data master at the time of his arrest. Rice was operating a moped in the City of Kendallville at 3:30 AM on September 22, 2012. According to Officer Wills, Rice was initially stopped for having an inoperable tail-light and for disregarding a stop sign at the intersection of Mott and Sheridan Streets.
The jury deliberated less than an hour before returning its guilty verdict.
Following the guilty verdict, the jury was then presented with evidence that showed Rice had previously been convicted of: two separate instances of Operating While Intoxicated in Kosciusko County. The first conviction occurred on July 17, 2002 and the second occurred on January 6, 2005. The jury only a short time before returning its second verdict that the two previous convictions qualified Rice to be sentenced as a Habitual Substance Offender.
Following the two verdicts today from the jury, Judge Michael Kramer of Noble Superior Court II proceeded to sentence Rice. Judge Kramer sentenced Rice to six (6) months in jail for Operating While Intoxicated and additional three (3) years for being a habitual substance offender. Deputy Prosecutor
Newman presented evidence during sentencing that Rice had six prior convictions and had previously failed attempts to complete probation. The 3 1/2 year sentence will be served in the Noble County Jail.
On November 7, 2013, Rice pled guilty to an unrelated instance of Operating While Intoxicated which occurred on July 15, 2012. Rice was sentenced to thirty (30) days in jail for that particular crime. Rice is scheduled for another jury trial on February 13, 2014 where the charges are Public Intoxication and Public Nudity, and for yet another jury trial on March 25, 2014, where Rice is charged with two counts of Failure to Appear.
Rice was represented at today’s jury trial by Kendallville Attorney Jon Owen, who served in the case as a Deputy Public Defender.
Under Indiana law a person convicted of a class A misdemeanor faces up to 1 year in jail and a $5000 fine. The enhancement for being a habitual substance offender carries with it an additional penalty of three (3) to eight (8) years of incarceration.