ILNews

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. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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