Sentence in murder-for-hire plot cut

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court has slashed a sentence for an Anderson man convicted last year in a murder-for-hire plot of his wife and mother-in-law.

Justices unanimously granted transfer and issued a five-page opinion Wednesday afternoon in Aaron Reid v. State of Indiana, 48S04-0711-CR-552, a case from Madison County that was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in a not-for-publication opinion in May.

Last year, Madison Superior Judge Thomas Newman gave Reid a maximum 50-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. The case began when Reid was incarcerated in county jail in early 2006, and he had hatched a plot with a fellow inmate to have his wife of less than a year and his mother-in-law killed. That inmate, however, was a police informant who contacted an undercover officer about the plot. After his conviction, Reid argued his sentence was inappropriate and the appellate court affirmed the lower court's decision, calling the crime "particularly heinous" because of his lengthy criminal record and how his daughter, less than 2 at the time, would have been left without a mother and grandmother.

Citing a variety of circumstances, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard wrote for the court that Reid is hardly the worst offender deserving a maximum sentence. Instead, the court cut the prison term by 20 years, revising it to the advisory 30-year sentence.

The state's high court doesn't say Judge Newman erred; rather it simply states that the reduced sentence would be "more appropriate."

A large part of the rationale in the decision was Reid's mental health history, which included attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, borderline intellectual disorder, bi-polar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. That made him an easy target by a police informant who had a history of dishonesty, the court wrote. But since the victims also requested leniency, Reid should not be considered one of the worst types of offenders, Chief Justice Shepard wrote.

"Given that no one was injured, both potential victims pleaded for leniency, and Reid had a history of mental health problems, it is inappropriate to order twenty-two year old Reid to serve fifty years," the opinion states.

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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues