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Supreme Court takes case involving sentencing discrepancy

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The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to a case in which a defendant challenged his sentence following his guilty plea to Class B felony burglary and admitting to being a habitual offender.

A written plea agreement called for James Walsh to be sentenced to 20 years for the burglary conviction and a consecutive 30 years for the habitual offender determination with 20 years of the sentence suspended to probation. The trial court entered the habitual-offender enhancement as a separate, consecutive sentence.

The post-conviction court ordered he be re-sentenced to 20 years for the burglary conviction, enhanced by 10 years because it was an error to impose a separate, consecutive sentence for the habitual-offender enhancement.

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded in a not-for-publication opinion June 24. The trial court was without authority to enter a sentence different than that provided for in the plea agreement, even if it was to Walsh’s benefit, the appellate court ruled. The judges remanded to correct the sentence order and abstract of judgment to reflect that the 30-year sentence for the habitual-offender adjudication serves to enhance the 20-year burglary sentence, with 20 years suspended to probation.

The case is James Walsh v. State of Indiana, No. 52S05-1009-CR-506.

The high court also granted transfer with opinions last week to Max Koenig v. State of Indiana, No. 42S04-1009-CR-505, Virginia Meister v. State of Indiana and Union City, No. 68S04-1009-CV-510, and Rosalynn West v. Betty Wadlington, et al., No. 49S02-1009-CV-509.
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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