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Class A felony sentences not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B)

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Two convicted child molesters will spend more time incarcerated after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled their sentences were not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B).
 
The state’s highest court vacated a pair of decisions by the Indiana Court of Appeals to halve sentences in both Kirk B. Lynch v. State of Indiana, 40S05-1301-CR-23, and Calvin Merida v. State of Indiana, 69S01-1301-CR-24. The justices ruled trial courts’ imposing of a 40–year sentence on Kirk Lynch and a 60-year term on Calvin Merida were appropriate.

After being convicted of attempted child molesting, a Class A felony, Lynch was sentenced to 40 years with five years suspended. Merida pled guilty to two counts of child molesting as Class A felonies. He was given consecutive advisory sentences for an aggregate term of 60 years.

The sentencing range for a Class A felony is 20 to 50 years with the advisory sentence being 30 years.

However, the trial court found the aggravating factors in the Lynch case, including that he was an Internet sexual predator and had a criminal history, outweighed the mitigating factors and therefore justified a sentence in excess of the advisory term. For Merida, the trial court noted his lack of criminal history but drew attention to the length of time his conduct occurred and the victim’s suffering.

On appeal, the COA revised Lynch’s sentence to the minimum term of 20 years and revised Merida’s sentence by ordering them to run concurrently, which reduced the aggregate term to 30 years. It cited Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B), which allows an appellate court to revise a sentence if it deems that sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.

In a per curiam decisions, the state Supreme Court affirmed the sentences handed down by the trial courts. The justices wrote in Lynch “…our collective judgment is that the sentence imposed by the trial court is not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B), and does not warrant appellate revision.”
 

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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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