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Justices reinstate 80-year sentence

December 19, 2012

Disagreeing with the Court of Appeals, which ordered a convicted child molester’s sentence cut in half, the Indiana Supreme Court reinstated John Kimbrough III’s 80-year aggregate sentence for molesting his former girlfriend’s two young daughters.

A jury convicted Kimbrough of four Class A felony and two Class C felony child molesting charges, but merged the Class C felonies into the Class A felonies. He received an 80-year sentence. A divided Court of Appeals ordered Kimbrough’s sentence revised to an aggregate term of 40 years after finding the trial court abused its discretion.

Justice Robert Rucker noted in John Kimbrough, III v. State of Indiana, 45S04-1212-CR-687, that the high court disagreed with the appellate judges for several reasons.

“First, it is certainly true that a trial court may abuse its discretion where the sentencing statement omits reasons that are clearly supported by the record and advanced for consideration,” he wrote. “But in this case the trial court’s sentencing statement did not omit consideration of Kimbrough’s lack of a criminal history.”

“Second, by describing Kimbrough’s lack of criminal history as a ‘substantial mitigating factor,’ and remanding this case with instructions to impose a reduced sentence, the Court of Appeals majority implicitly suggested the trial court should have given greater weight to this factor,” he continued.

“In summary, because the trial court correctly entered its sentencing statement in compliance with the dictates of Anglemyer and because the ‘appropriateness’ of a sentence has no bearing on whether a sentence is erroneous, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing Kimbrough’s sentence. Further, Kimbrough did not seek review and revision of his sentence under Indiana Appellate Rule (7)(B).”

 

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