ROSEVILLE — A 50-year-old Sacramento man with four felony strikes on his criminal record has been sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison following a Placer County jury conviction for driving under the influence of drugs and resisting a peace officer.
Anthony Joseph DiBernardo, who racked up all of his felony strikes in 1988 during a one-night burglary binge in which he broke into three homes and attempted to rape a 14-year-old girl, tried to have three of his prior strikes stricken on Feb. 18 in hopes of reducing his sentence to no more than six years.
However, Placer Superior Court Judge Joseph O’Flaherty denied his motion and called the attempted rape a “top-of-the-pyramid” felony.
Prosecutor Benjamin Eggert of the Placer County District Attorney’s Office said DiBernardo had continued to break laws in the 1990s, including assaulting a person with a deadly weapon and twice failing to register as a sex offender.
“This guy had his chances,” Eggert said. “He’s exactly the kind of person the three-strikes law was written for.”
In his most recent incident last May, DiBernardo was stopped by a Roseville police officer for driving with expired registration, Eggert said.
DiBernardo, suspected by the officer of being under the influence of a substance, then wrestled with the officer from swallowing a baggie of methamphetamine that he was hiding in his mouth, Eggert said.
In October, a trial jury convicted DiBernardo of driving under the influence, transporting and possessing meth, possession of drug paraphernalia and of resisting or obstructing a peace officer.
“If he had been convicted only of the drug counts, he might have been eligible for a drug diversion program,” Eggert said. “But the DUI and the resisting counts are what got him the mandatory sentence of 25-to-life.”