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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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