ILNews

COA finds court made several errors in sentencing

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A trial court erred in sentencing a man who was on probation for one offense when he committed another, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

In Keith D. Jackson v. State of Indiana, No. 20A03-1105-CR-222, Keith Jackson pleaded guilty in 2004 to Class B felony robbery using a deadly weapon. He was released from the Indiana Department of Correction in 2009.

Later that year, the state charged Jackson with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon under cause number 063. The probation department filed a petition for violation of probation under cause number 196, the offense for which he was sentenced in 2004. That petition recommended Jackson serve the balance of his previously suspended four-year sentence in the DOC.   

On January 11, 2010, Jackson and the state filed a plea agreement with the trial court in cause number 063. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Jackson pleaded guilty to the firearm charge and admitted the probation violation in cause number 196. In exchange, the state agreed to the following: 12 years incarceration with six of those 12 years suspended in cause number 063; two years served (as one with good-time credit) in cause number 196; discharged from probation in cause number 196, case closed; and probation to calculate credit time in cause number 063.

At a hearing, the trial court accepted the plea agreement and agreed to be bound by its terms. But the trial court eventually sentenced him to serve his previously suspended four-year sentence.

The COA held that the express terms of the plea agreement indicated that Jackson should receive a two-year executed sentence, rather than the four-year suspended sentence originally imposed in cause 196. After applying the time credit, the trial court was obligated to discharge Jackson from probation in cause 196. The COA found the trial court erred by imposing the suspended sentence of four years contrary to the accepted plea agreement, and therefore reversed and remanded to the trial court to resentence Jackson in accordance with the plea agreement.

The appellate panel also found that the trial court abused its discretion in ordering Jackson to pay public defender fees and perform community service.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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