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Appeals court splits on new sentence modification issue

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An inmate’s request for a sentence modification has divided the Indiana Court of Appeals, with the majority concluding that the 365-day period during which a trial court could grant a modification begins when someone is originally sentenced, not re-resentenced after a successful appeal.

In Nathan D. Hawkins v. State of Indiana, No. 79A02-1101-CR-100, Nathan Hawkins appealed the denial of his request for sentence modification. He was originally sentenced to 16 years in July 2009 after pleading guilty to child molesting. Hawkins appealed and the COA vacated the sentence, ordering a new 10-year sentence. The trial court issued the new sentence in April 2010, and in November 2010, Hawkins asked for the modification.

The trial court denied it because it was more than a year after he was originally sentenced and because the prosecutor didn’t approve a modification.

The majority affirmed in this first impression issue, citing Redmond v. State, 900 N.E.2d 40, 42-43 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), to hold that the 365-day period did not restart when Hawkins was re-sentenced. Judges Terry Crone and Edward Najam suggested that defendants who want to pursue both remedies should request a stay of the appeal provided by Appellate Rule 37 to allow the trial court to consider the motion for sentence modification.

Chief Judge Margret Robb dissented, believing that based on language in statute, the clock restarts when someone is re-sentenced. She also pointed out holes in the majority’s reasoning to use the stay procedure, such as if a defendant stays his appeal, the sentence is modified, and then he appeals that reduced sentence, which sentence is the appellate court to review?

She wants the Indiana Legislature to revisit the sentence modification statute – which is not clear on when the 365-day period is triggered – and make any amendments to provide a clear, workable rule.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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