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Justices take case arguing retroactivity for revised criminal code

January 21, 2014

A man convicted of cocaine charges as a Class A felony and ultimately sentenced to 38 years in prison will get to argue to the Indiana Supreme Court that his punishment is disproportionate to the reduced offense that will take effect in July as part of Indiana’s revised criminal code.

Justices granted transfer in the Shelby County case, Christopher Cross v. State of Indiana, 73S01-1401-CR-29. The revised criminal code, enacted in 2013 via House Enrolled Act 1006, removes cocaine possession and dealing charges from the category of crime with the highest sentencing range.

The Court of Appeals rejected Cross’ argument, holding that nothing in HEA 1006 suggests that the criminal code revision should be applied retroactively.

Justices also agreed to hear Nick McIlquham v. State of Indiana, 49S05-1401-CR-28, a Fourth Amendment case. McIlquham challenges his conviction of Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, Class D felony neglect of a dependent and misdemeanor marijuana counts, arguing the results of a search should have been excluded at trial.

Police conducted a warrantless search of McIlquham’s apartment because of concerns about the welfare of his young, partially nude daughter found wandering alone near a retention pond. The search turned up a loaded pistol and marijuana, and the Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions, holding the search was objectively reasonable under the circumstances as part of police community-caretaking duties.  

The Supreme Court also will hear a not-for-publication opinion involving a biological mother’s denial of a motion for relief from an adoption judgment. That case is In the Matter of the Adoption of C.A.H., minor, J.N.E. v. L.M.H., 49S02-1401-AD-30.

Justices also declined to grant transfer in 22 cases. Weekly transfer disposition reports may be viewed here.
 

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