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Judges affirm teen’s sentence for robbery, conspiracy

June 22, 2012

An Elkhart teenager convicted in adult court for her role in several armed robberies of gas stations lost her appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Then 17-year-old Karla Estrada conspired with several friends to rob gas stations around Elkhart in order to get money for Estrada to send to her cousins in Texas. Estrada drove the three friends to and from the gas stations while the friends committed the robberies at five different locations.

Estrada was adjudicated in juvenile court for three counts of Class C felony robbery if committed by an adult, which pertained to the robberies that did not involve weapons. Two months later, the state charged her as an adult with two counts of Class B felony armed robbery as an accomplice based on the first two robberies and one count of Class C felony conspiracy. She was convicted and sentenced to a total of 24 years.

She appealed on four grounds: that the trial court abused its discretion by denying her motion to dismiss and by admitting her statement to police into evidence, that her conspiracy conviction violates Indiana’s double jeopardy prohibition and that her sentence is inappropriate.

The appellate judges found that her charges in adult court weren’t barred by the successive prosecution statute and that those adult charges could not have been brought in juvenile court under Indiana Code 31-30-1-4.

Estrada’s statement to the police detective was admissible because the appellate court found Estrada’s mother knowingly and voluntarily waived Estrada’s rights and both the mother and daughter signed the form saying they understood it.

The conspiracy conviction does not violate double jeopardy prohibition and her sentence is appropriate, the judges held in Karla P. Estrada v. State of Indiana, 20A03-1110-CR-474.

 

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