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Attorney Tracey Wood's client, a 33-year-old Menasha, Wisconsin woman was resentenced in a drunken driving case linked to allegations of illegal or unethical payments involving attorneys, their clients and a former prosecutor in Winnebago County.
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Judge Orders New Sentence in OWI Case

By Duke Behnke
Post-Crescent staff writer

OSHKOSH - A 33-year-old former Menasha woman will be resentenced in a drunken-driving case linked to allegations of illegal or unethical payments involving attorneys, their clients and a former prosecutor.

Melinda Otto was granted a motion for a new sentence Monday by Winnebago County Circuit Judge Robert Haase on grounds that a 2001 presentence report on Otto contained inaccurate information.

The defendant is entitled to be sentenced on accurate information, Haase said.

Otto, who was not at the hearing Monday, had been sentenced to three years in prison and 17 years of extended supervision by Winnebago County Circuit Judge Tom Gritton on two counts of causing injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

She has served 20 months in prison but can be freed on a $2,500 signature bond until her resentencing Sept. 15.

Ottos father, Tim Otto of Appleton, said people convicted of similar crimes have received far lighter sentences.

Maybe she can get a fair sentence this time, he said.

If she would have had a lot of money, she probably wouldnt have did day one in prison, said her mother, Marie Otto .

Otto alleged that her former defense attorney, Richard Bollenbeck of Appleton, assured her that she wouldnt get prison time based on his friendship with former Winnebago County District Attorney Joe Paulus.

Attorney Tracey Wood, a Madison lawyer representing Otto, presented a photo of Bollenbeck and Paulus together that she said Bollenbeck used as a sales pitch.

Bollenbeck invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination during previous questioning from Wood and Winnebago County Assistant District Attorney Michael Balskus. Bollenbeck was not in court Monday.

Wood said Bollenbeck also failed to read Otto a presentence report that included allegations of alcohol and drug use, and drug trafficking.

She wasnt read the inaccurate information, Wood said. She didnt know it was there.

Wood said she and Balskus had agreed to a recommended sentence for Otto: two years in prison and five years of extended supervision.

Reprinted with permission.

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