Man waited too long to ask for return of cash bond

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Although the trial court was not statutorily authorized to retain a man’s cash bond in 2005, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of his motion to release the bond because he waived his argument.

Thomas Dillman was charged with three drunken-driving offenses and paid a $700 cash bond to be released from jail in September 2005. He pleaded guilty to one count two months later, and the trial court said Dillman would pay costs and fees out of the cash bond. Dillman never appealed that order. Then, in 2011, the trial court released the remainder of the cash bond for probation fees. Dillman also did not appeal this order.

In April 2013, he filed a motion to release the bond, which the trial court denied the same day.

The state conceded that the trial court did not have statutory authority to retain the bond to pay for court costs, but it argued that Dillman waived his claim when he failed to appeal the court’s orders. Dillman countered that the orders constituted an illegal sentence, which is a fundamental error he can raise at any time.

The Court of Appeals found Dillman should have filed a motion to correct error or notice of appeal within 30 days of the November 2005 order. He waited nearly eight years to dispute the release of his bond for court costs.

Dillman can’t bypass the waiver issue by arguing fundamental error because the error did not constitute an illegal sentence nor was it a fundamental error, Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote in Thomas D. Dillman v. State of Indiana, 53A05-1306-CR-274.  

“Although the trial court made its statement regarding costs and fees at sentencing, the trial court’s order requiring Dillman to pay his costs and fees was not part of his sentence. In 2005, when Dillman was sentenced, INDIANA CODE§ 33-37-2-2(a) provided: “[c]osts in a criminal action are not a part of the sentence and may not be suspended.” In turn, “fees” . . . “are costs.” I.C. § 33-37-2-5 (2005). Therefore, the trial court’s order regarding Dillman’s costs and fees was not a part of his sentence, and his sentence was not illegal,” he wrote.

“Although the trial court should not have retained Dillman’s cash bond, it released the money to pay for Dillman’s costs and fees, which Dillman was required to pay regardless.”



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