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Joseph Noel Best Sentenced in U.S. District Court

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Joseph Noel Best Sentenced in U.S. District Court

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Montana
July 15, 2009


Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Billings, on July 15, 2009, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, JOSEPH NOEL BEST, a 37-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. BEST was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 18 months
Special Assessment: $100
Restitution: to be determined
Supervised Release: 3 years

BEST was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On the evening of July 15, 2008, officers responded to a motor vehicle accident at the 4-way intersection in Lame Deer.

BEST had been traveling at a high rate of speed, failed to stop at a stop sign, and struck another vehicle. The collision was so violent it spun the other vehicle in a complete circle.

Upon arrival, officers questioned BEST about the accident. BEST was visually intoxicated. He admitted he had been drinking at a local bar and was intoxicated. BEST failed the field sobriety tests and 41/2 hours after the accident, his blood alcohol level was still .155.

All the occupants in the vehicle were seriously injured in the accident. D.D.K. sustained multiple fractures to her legs and hips. J.B.M. received lacerations to his head and a "broken back" and is expected to have permanent paralysis. M.J.S. sustained a broken femur.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BEST will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BEST does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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