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Man ineligible to bring belated appeal

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Because his guilty plea included a fixed sentence, a man who pleaded guilty to a drunken-driving charge is precluded from challenging his sentence by direct appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. This also prevents him from challenging his sentence under Ind. Post-Conviction Rule 2.

Dean Eric Blanck, through a written plea agreement, pleaded guilty to Class D felony operating while intoxicated in exchange for two other charges being dropped. The agreement provided for a three-year sentence served on electronic monitoring and suspension of his driver’s license.

A year later, Blanck sought permission to file a belated notice of appeal and a petition for appointment of appellate counsel pursuant to PCR 2, which the court denied.

The Court of Appeals affirmed in Dean Eric Blanck v. State of Indiana, 47A01-1209-CR-424. Blanck argued that his plea agreement was open, which allows him to seek a belated direct appeal, but he misread his written plea agreement. It had two separate sections, with (A) for an open plea and (B) for a fixed plea. His plea agreement and the transcript of the plea hearing clearly show that his sentence did not result from an open plea, Senior Judge Carr Darden wrote. Thus, he is not allowed to challenge his sentence by direct appeal and is not “eligible” to seek permission for a belated appeal under PCR 2.

Because of this, the trial court also properly denied his petition to appoint appellate counsel for that purpose, the appellate court held.

 

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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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