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Advisory sentence not sentencing starting point

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A man appealing his 15-year sentence for rape made a "novel" argument in his brief: the trial court should have started its calculation of his sentence using the advisory sentence of 10 years instead of using the midpoint of 13 years.

In Ryan Richardson v. State of Indiana, No. 84A04-0811-CR-654, Ryan Richardson's argument in his appeal of his sentence "highlighted an oddity within Indiana's revised sentencing statutes" that hadn't been addressed yet by the state appellate courts, wrote Judge Terry Crone.

Richardson pleaded guilty to rape and sexual misconduct with a minor; his victim was his 15-year-old niece. The trial court merged the convictions and considered it to really be one crime of rape. The trial judge informed Richardson of the maximum of 20 years, minimum of six years and advisory sentence of 10 years for the rape conviction. The judge used the midpoint of 13 years as his starting point for sentencing. From the 13 years, the judge considered the mitigating and aggravating factors and tacked on two years as an enhancement due to Richardson's prior criminal record.

On appeal, Richardson contended the trial judge should have used the advisory sentence of 10 years as the starting point and added or subtracted time from that point. Judge Crone noted that the statutory sections that provide permissible sentences for Class A, B, C, or D felonies - with the exception of murder - don't have advisory sentences that are the mathematical midpoints between the maximum and minimum sentences. However, the fact the advisory sentences for those felonies don't equal the midway point, while strange, doesn't change the fact the "advisory sentence" is not a mandatory starting point, the judge wrote. A trial court isn't required to use the statutory advisory sentence or any other particular point as a starting point in its sentencing considerations.

The appellate judges reviewed Richardson's sentence and found it to be appropriate given the circumstances of the case.

In a lengthy footnote, Judge Crone wrote that the rape and sexual misconduct with a minor charges didn't have to merge and the facts in the probable cause affidavit outlined two distinct acts.

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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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