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Affirmed sentence in home invasion, sex assault clarifies aggravator standards

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An Indianapolis man’s 40-year executed sentence for leading a home invasion and forcing the woman who lived there to perform oral sex at gunpoint wasn’t improper, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

The ruling discarded the convict’s argument that the Marion Superior sentence on convictions of Class A felony criminal deviate conduct and Class B felony robbery improperly referenced the victim’s strength and support system. The appellate panel also found a new standard in which a judge may consider elements of a crime as an aggravator.

“In Pedraza v. State, 887 N.E.2d 77, 80 (Ind. 2008), our supreme court observed that ‘sentencing used to be a two-step process — imposing of the presumptive sentence, then deciding whether any aggravators or mitigators warranted deviation.’ Since the 2005 modification of the sentencing scheme, however, sentencing ‘consists of only one discretionary determination,’” Judge Michael Barnes wrote for the court.  “‘Thus, a sentence toward the high end of the range is no longer an ‘enhanced sentence’ in the sense that the former regime provided.’”

“According to Pedraza, based on the 2005 changes, the consideration of a material element of crime as an aggravator ‘is no longer an inappropriate double enhancement,’” Barnes wrote in Joshua Gomillia v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1301-CR-77.

“Thus, to the extent the trial court considered an element of the offense as an aggravator, it is no longer an improper double enhancement under the new sentencing scheme.”

The court rejected Gomillia’s other argument that the trial court improperly considered facts outside the record in referring to the victim’s strength and support system.

“The trial court was simply making a statement about the resilience of the victim prior to its assessment of the aggravators and mitigators. Any error in the trial court’s consideration of (the victim’s) testimony at a co-defendant’s trial was harmless because it did not impact the trial court’s determination of Gomillia’s sentence,” Barnes wrote.
 
 

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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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