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Justices: Belated appeals rule doesn’t apply to probation revocations

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The Indiana Supreme Court has put its stamp of approval on an intermediate appellate panel’s ruling last year, finding that the state’s existing Post-Conviction Rule 2 that allows for belated appeals on certain criminal cases doesn’t apply to probation revocations.

In a two-page per curiam opinion in Edward Dawson v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-1103-CR-176, the justices unanimously granted transfer on a Marion County case the Indiana Court of Appeals had decided Dec. 17, 2010.

Marion Superior Judge Robert Altice had imposed an eight-year suspended sentence with three years probation for the defendant, who’d pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery and carrying a handgun without a license. The judge later revoked his probation and sentenced him to six years after a probation violation, but he didn’t file a motion to correct error or any appeal notice within 30 days as required. Dawson said he later learned generally about his right to appeal after meeting a law clerk with the Indiana Youth Center, and eight months following the revocation order he asked for a belated appeal. Judge Altice allowed it “outright” and permitted a hearing, but confirmed the six-year sanction he’d ordered.

The Court of Appeals found that Post-Conviction Rule 2 is not available for belated appeals of probation revocation orders and dismissed the appeal, and now the justices have affirmed that decision.

“We agree with the Court of Appeals’ analysis that the sanction imposed when probation is revoked does not qualify as a ‘sentence’ under the Rule, and therefore Dawson is not an ‘eligible defendant,’” the per curiam opinion reads. ”Accordingly, we grant transfer and adopt and incorporate by reference the opinion of the Court of Appeals under Appellate Rule 58(A)(1).”

This is the first time the state’s highest court has explicitly determined whether and to what extent Post-Conviction Rule 2 applies to probation revocation orders, either by opinion or rule amendment even after the intermediate appellate court had decided that matter in Glover v. State, 684 N.E.2d 542, 543 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997).

Justices addressed PCR 2 and probation revocation hearings in Cooper v. State, 917 N.E.2d 667, 673 (Ind. 2009), but the court ruled that because Cooper didn’t petition for permission to file a belated notice of appeal, the case wasn’t an appropriate vehicle to resolve the question of whether probation revocation orders are appealable under PCR 2.

That question is now resolved.

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