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Woman’s convictions are crimes of violence, justifying sentence

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The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the state Thursday that a woman’s Class D felony drunken-driving convictions are considered “crimes of violence” under Indiana law, so there was no error when the trial court imposed a seven-year consecutive sentence.

Wendy Thompson was drinking alcohol while driving along U.S. Highway 36 in Parke County when she rear-ended Tina Redman’s car, causing it to hit a Jeep Cherokee driving in the opposite direction. Redman had slowed down for an Amish wagon. The accident resulted in serious injuries to Redman, her daughter, and the two passengers in the Cherokee.

Thompson’s BAC was 0.25 and she also tested positive for benzodiazepines, for which she had a valid prescription. But the drug intensifies the effects of alcohol.

The state charged her with eight counts, but Thompson pleaded guilty to four Class D felony operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 causing serious bodily injury. She was sentenced to three years each for Counts I and II and 180 days each for Counts III and IV. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively, for a total of seven years, with two years suspended to probation.

Thompson argued before the trial court and again on appeal that she couldn’t be sentenced to consecutive sentences longer than four years based on I.C. 35-50-1-2(c). This section says the total consecutive terms of imprisonment shall not exceed the advisory sentence for a felony one class higher than the most serious of the felonies for which a person has been convicted.

In Thompson’s case, this would be the advisory sentence of four years for a Class C felony. She would be correct as long as her crime is not considered a “crime of violence,” the appellate court held, finding her Class D felonies to qualify under this distinction. Thus, the maximum-sentence restriction does not apply.

The judges relied on the statutory citation next to the text of the offense under subdivision 15, “Operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury to another person (IC 9-30-5-4).” They believed the citation to the statute is evidence that the Legislature intended to include both crimes within the definition of a “crime of violence.”

The COA also upheld her sentence, noting the significant injuries the vehicle occupants suffered – and continue to deal with today – as well as Thompson’s inability to admit the extent of her problems with alcohol.

The case is Wendy Thompson v. State of Indiana, 61A01-1305-CR-207.


 

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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