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Appeals panel voids gun conviction, cuts child porn sentence

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An Indianapolis man sentenced to 11 years in prison for possession of child pornography and a felony gun charge had his most serious conviction vacated and his sentence reduced to no more than four years.

A jury in Marion Superior Court convicted David F. Wood of five counts of Class D felony possession of child pornography, and he pleaded guilty to Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. Wood’s wife had notified authorities after she found him in possession of photos of nude girls who appeared to be underage. Police who searched Wood’s house found two pistols on a closet shelf beneath male clothing.

In a bifurcated trial, Wood was found guilty of five of 10 counts brought against him of possessing child porn. “The jury also returned a form entitled ‘VERDICT,’ … on which the jury was to determine whether ‘Wood knowingly or intentionally possessed a firearm,’ … and on which the jury foreman marked the box for ‘NO,’” Judge Melissa May wrote for a unanimous Court of Appeals panel in David F. Wood v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1207-CR-615.

“Despite that verdict and concerns raised by Wood’s counsel and the deputy prosecutor, the trial court determined the State would be allowed to present additional evidence during a second phase of the trial to demonstrate Wood possessed firearms while being a SVF,” May wrote. “Just prior to the jury returning for that second phase of the trial, Wood announced he would plead guilty to Class B felony possession of a firearm by a SVF. The State then offered, in open court, to cap his possible sentence for that crime at six years, which is the minimum sentence for a Class B felony. The trial court accepted that plea and entered Wood’s convictions.”

Marion Superior Judge Robert Altice Jr. ordered Wood’s six-year sentence on the SVF conviction be served consecutive to five consecutive one-year sentences for the child porn convictions.

“The trial court made an error of law when it instructed the State it could proceed to second phase of trial even after the jury returned a verdict finding Wood had not knowingly or intentionally possessed the firearms,” May wrote. “If the court had not made that legal error, Wood would not have been placed in the position of deciding whether to plead guilty before the second phase of trial. … (W)e reverse his conviction.”

Wood argued the child porn convictions were a single episode of criminal conduct for which the punishment may not exceed four years, and the COA agreed.  
 
“We also reverse Wood’s five-year cumulative sentence for the five counts of Class D felony possession of child pornography, because that sentence violates the cap imposed by Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2, and we remand for the trial court to enter a new sentence that does not exceed four years.”

According to the Department of Correction, Wood’s projected release date had been April 2017. A sentence of four years or less would move his projected release date to no later than October.
 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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