Pleas as mitigating circumstance allowed

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court granted rehearing in a case to clarify that defendants who plead guilty do not give up the opportunity to claim on appeal that the trial court should have considered the guilty plea a mitigating circumstance, even if defendants fail to bring up this claim during sentencing.

Alexander Anglemyer sought rehearing following the Supreme Court's decision Alexander J. Anglemyer v. State of Indiana, 43S05-0606-CR-230, affirming his sentences for robbery and battery. Anglemyer was charged with robbery as a Class B felony and battery as a Class C felony for assaulting and robbing a pizza delivery driver. Anglemyer pleaded guilty, and the trial court handed down a 16-year sentence.

Anglemyer appealed, alleging the trial court overlooked his guilty plea as a mitigating factor. Anglemyer never mentioned his guilty plea as a mitigating factor at his sentencing hearing. In Anglemyer's first appeal, the Supreme Court stated the trial court doesn't abuse its discretion when it doesn't consider a mitigating factor that was not raised at sentencing; because he did not bring it up then, the alleged mitigating circumstance was precluded from review in the previous appeal before the Supreme Court.

In this rehearing, the Supreme Court addressed that guilty pleas can be an exception to this issue. Justice Robert Rucker wrote that although Anglemyer did not mention his guilty plea as a mitigating factor during sentencing, this doesn't prevent him from raising the issue for the first time on appeal.

A defendant has to establish the mitigating factor is not only supported by the record but also that the mitigating evidence is significant. Anglemyer received the benefit of a reduced sentence and charges for pleading guilty, but he tried to minimize his culpability for the crimes by citing his unemployment, mental impairment, and history of emotional and behavioral problems.

In this case, Anglemyer hasn't shown his guilty plea was a significant mitigating circumstance, and the Supreme Court concluded the trial court did not abuse its discretion by omitting reference to the guilty plea when imposing the sentence, wrote Justice Rucker.

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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.