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Court splits over sentence modification

March 29, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided over whether a man could challenge his sentence following a guilty plea. One judge maintained that the defendant did not consent to his illegal sentence.

In Todd J. Crider v. State of Indiana, No. 91A05-1108-CR-389, Todd Crider, who pleaded guilty to Class D felony theft and admitted to being a habitual offender in White Superior Court, challenged the order that the sentence be served consecutively to a sentence imposed in Tippecanoe County that also included a habitual offender enhancement.

The original plea agreement in White County said that the sentence would be served concurrently with a habitual offender enhancement received in Tippecanoe County, but that line was crossed out and initialed by Crider and his attorney. The original agreement also called for a shorter sentence, but that was also crossed out and initialed. The final agreement also said that Crider waived his right to appeal and knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his right to challenge his sentence on the basis that it’s erroneous.

After sentencing, Crider challenged the legality of serving the sentence in the White County case consecutively to the sentence already imposed in Tippecanoe County.

The majority concluded that Crider waived his right to challenge his sentence as erroneous. Based on the original agreement, Crider was aware that the trial court might order the sentences to be served consecutively, wrote Judge Ezra Friedlander, yet he moved forward with the plea agreement in its current form.

Judge Melissa May dissented, pointing out that the final plea agreement didn’t contain any reference to whether the sentence would be served concurrently or consecutively with the Tippecanoe County matter. She would order the sentence be modified.

 

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