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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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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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