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Charge dismissed in error negates felony DUI enhancement

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The state’s errant dismissal of a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge in 2009 may not be corrected in order to enhance to a felony a defendant’s second such charge within five years, a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

The majority reversed a ruling by Grant Superior Judge Warren Haas in which he denied a motion to dismiss a Class D felony charge of operating while intoxicated because the state had filed a nunc pro tunc entry reinstating the 2009 conviction.

Richard Dillon pleaded guilty to misdemeanor operating while intoxicated and marijuana possession charges in 2009. The state later moved to dismiss “Count 1,” mistakenly referring to the drunken-driving charge, when it meant to dismiss the marijuana charge.

In Richard Dillon v. State of Indiana, 27A05-1210-CR-542, Judges Nancy Vaidik and Ezra Friedlander ruled on interlocutory appeal that the state could not correct the mistake by filing the motion correcting its error after Dillon had been arrested a second time on a drunken-driving charge.

“This means that when Dillon allegedly committed the OWI in this case, he did not have a prior conviction within five years because the nunc pro tunc entry had not yet been made," Vaidik wrote in reversing the trial court. “Had the State moved to reinstate Dillon’s inadvertently dismissed OWI … before he allegedly committed the OWI in this case, then the OWI in this case would be subject to the Class D felony enhancement pursuant to Indiana Code section 9-30-5-3. But that is not what happened.”

Judge John Baker dissented, writing that the trial court could not have dismissed “Count 1,” because it was the charge upon which a judgment of conviction already had been entered. “Moreover, even assuming the trial court’s order dismissing Count 1 was not void, we cannot permit criminal defendants to reap the benefits of simple scriveners’ errors,” Baker wrote.





 

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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