COA cuts sentence for drug convictions

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's drug convictions, but found the trial court erred in sentencing him. As a result, the appellate court reduced his sentence by 33 years.

In Gary L. Williams Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 39A04-0708-CR-481, Williams appealed his convictions of and his 73-year sentence for dealing in cocaine, and possession of cocaine and marijuana.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Williams' convictions on two counts of dealing in cocaine as Class A felonies, possession of cocaine as a Class A felony, two counts of possession of cocaine as Class C felonies, and one count of possession of marijuana. Williams was convicted after Indiana State Police set up a meeting for a confidential informant to buy drugs from Williams.

The trial court ordered Williams to serve his sentences on the various counts consecutively. Finding the two incidents that involved Williams selling drugs within one day at the same location didn't constitute an episode of criminal conduct, the appellate court found the trial court didn't err in ordering him to serve consecutive sentences.

However, citing Gregory v. State, 644 N.E.2d 543 (Ind. 1994), and Jones v. State, 807 N.E.2d 58 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), the Court of Appeals ruled the sentences for each conviction arising from evidence taken after the state began sponsoring the criminal activity - by arranging drug buys from Williams to an informant - must run concurrently. The trial court ordered convictions relating to the two state-arranged drug buys to be served concurrently, but then ordered those sentences to be served consecutive to other cocaine and marijuana convictions from evidence seized under a search warrant.

"While Gregory and Jones did not expressly address this issue, the clear import of those decisions - that the State may not 'pile on' sentences by postponing prosecution in order to gather more evidence - applies equally to convictions arising from evidence gathered as a direct result of the State-sponsored criminal activity," wrote Judge Edward Najam.

As a result, the appellate court revised Williams' sentence and ordered all of his sentences run concurrently for an aggregate term of 40 years.

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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.