Multiple DUI offender Mark Dahir was transferred from prison to the work release program recently. Dahir's defense attorney says no favors were called in.
Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine wasn't happy about it, but it was ultimately up to the department of corrections after the sentencing.
Convicted on previous DUI's, 37-year-old Mark Dahir spent a short time in prison, went through rehab programs, or may have also received probation. His 4th conviction in June brought a sentence by Judge J. Patrick Mullen of 2-3 years in prison. Since his arrest in March, Dahir has spent about 6 months behind bars, which includes 100 days since the sentencing with credit, before being evaluated by the state and transferred to work release.
His attorney Steve Lefler says Dahir is in an environment where he can't use, and is still looking for a job.
"If everybody wants mark to be treated the same, now he's being treated exactly the same as everybody else, not one favor has been called in," Lefler explained. "This is just a reflection of Mark's good work as a human being at the Douglas County Correctional Center."
Douglas County Court Judge Darryl Lowe did not rule in the Dahir case, but says judges have to balance the interests of protecting the community and giving the defendant a chance to rehabilitate.
"We try and fashion a sentence that try and protects society, does not promote disrespect for the law, and also allows the individual to return to society at some point hopefully as a better human being," Judge Lowe described.
Once the sentence is handed down it's out of their hands, and up to the state to decide the risk of an inmate.
"As a judge you have to live with the decisions you make," Judge Lowe added. "You can't look into the future and see what's going to happen."
Some still question if 6 months behind bars is enough to protect society. Lefler says Dahir has an addiction problem, but is getting the proper help at Community Corrections Center Omaha, and is making the right decisions.
"If the judge would've maxed out Mark, what incentive would anybody have to get treatment?" Lefler questioned.
Dahir is being monitored and has to stay on the CCCO grounds, unless he's looking for a job. He also is being drug tested frequently.
The Nebraska Department of Corrections Services says that once an inmate is within 2 years of their parole date, they're eligible for work release. Dahir qualifies since his latest parole date is November 2012. Lefler says even if he received the maximum punishment of 5 years, Dahir would probably have only spent an extra few months behind bars because of those guidelines.
WOWT did try to contact Judge Mullen for this story, but he declined to comment.