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Judges affirm sentence for man who questions constitutionality of Indiana Code

March 13, 2012

A man’s criminal actions that resulted in a two-year sentence were not part of a single episode of criminal conduct, and therefore, his claim that his sentence was unconstitutional is without merit.

In Kenneth Akers v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-1106-CR-313, Kenneth Akers appealed his sentence, following his convictions of battery, resisting law enforcement and possession of paraphernalia, all Class A misdemeanors. The trial court sentenced Akers to one year in prison for each conviction, but ordered the battery and resisting sentences to be served concurrently, and consecutive to the possession sentence, for an aggregate sentence of two years.

Akers raised one question for review: whether Indiana Code 35-50-1-2 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution or Article 1, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution because the statute limits the imposition of consecutive sentences when someone is convicted of at least one felony, but no such statute exists limiting the imposition of consecutive sentences for those convicted of only misdemeanors.

Akers’ convictions arose from a series of events, beginning when he and another man pushed an elderly man into a ditch. The elderly man’s money was missing after the assault, but Akers wasn’t convicted of attempted robbery. A police officer who saw the men pursued Akers. Akers ran, and when apprehended by police, he had a small bag of marijuana at his feet and rolling papers in his wallet.

The Indiana Court of Appeals held that Akers’ actions do not constitute a single episode of criminal conduct, so he does not have standing to challenge Indiana Code 35-50-1-2, because the statute would not apply to him even if it applied generally to defendants convicted of only misdemeanors. The COA therefore affirmed the trial court.


 

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