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Justices reinstate sex offender’s maximum sentence lowered by COA

July 2, 2013

The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a trial court sentence that imposed maximum consecutive prison terms for a man convicted of two counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor.

Michael Chambers was sentenced to two consecutive terms of 20 years in prison for an aggregate 40 years by Monroe Circuit Judge Teresa D. Harper. A divided Indiana Court of Appeals held that the sentence was an outlier in comparison to Walker v. State, 747 N.E.2d 536 (Ind. 2001), and Harris v. State, 897 N.E.2d 927, 930 (Ind. 2008), and ordered Chambers’ sentences be served concurrently, reducing the term to an aggregate 20 years in prison.

But justices sided with the dissenter on the COA panel who wrote that Chambers’ criminal history was much more significant than those of the defendants in the cited cases, and therefore the sentence was not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and Chambers’ character.

"Our collective judgment is that the sentence imposed by the trial court in this case is not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B) and does not warrant appellate revision," read the three-page per curiam opinion in Michael Chambers v. State of Indiana, 53S01-1307-CR-459. "Accordingly, we grant transfer, affirm the sentence imposed by the trial court, and summarily affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals in all other respects."

The opinion was joined by all justices. Justice Robert Rucker concurred in the result without a separate opinion.
 

 

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