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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.

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However, Placer County 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 who tried to stop him from swallowing a baggie of methamphetamine that he was hiding in his mouth, Eggert said.

In October, a trial jury convicted DiBernardo of DUI, 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.’

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