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Appellate courts may consider credit time status

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Indiana appellate courts can take into account the potential consequences of an offender’s status as a credit restricted felon when reviewing a sentence, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Michael Sharp appealed his convictions and sentence for one count of Class A felony child molesting and one count as a Class C felony. He was sentenced to 40 years, but because he was assigned to class IV for purposes of credit time, his minimum possible sentence would be a little more than 34 years.

In Michael Sharp v. State of Indiana,  12S02-1109-CR-544, the justices only focused on Sharp’s argument that the Indiana Court of Appeals should have considered his credit restricted felon status when evaluating his request for appellate sentence review under Indiana Appellate Rule 7. The Court of Appeals panel said it wouldn’t take into account a person’s credit restricted felon status because “credit time is set by the legislature and is not a discretionary tool used by the trial court judge.”

The Supreme Court disagreed on this point, holding that credit time status may be considered by an appellate court exercising its review and revise authority.

Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote that Appellate Rule 7(B) authorizes appellate courts to review and revise the totality of penal consequences ordered by the trial court to determine its appropriateness. “Accordingly, evaluation of a defendant's sentence may include consideration of the defendant's credit time status because this penal consequence was within the contemplation of the trial court when it was determining the defendant's sentence,” he wrote.

The justices found that even considering his assigned credit time status, Sharp’s sentence is not inappropriate because he was in a position of trust with his victim and evidence at trial demonstrated that Sharp committed the offenses multiple times over a period of years.

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

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