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COA: Judge didn't err in rejecting master commissioner's sentence

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The Indiana Court of Appeals found a Marion Superior judge did not err when she rejected a master commissioner’s sentence of a man who pleaded guilty to a drunk-driving charge because the master commissioner didn’t have the authority to enter a final judgment on the sentence.

In Timothy Long v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1105-CR-381, Timothy Long appealed the sentence imposed by Marion Superior Judge Linda Brown following Long’s guilty plea to Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and being a habitual substance offender. Marion County Master Commissioner Teresa Hall accepted Long’s guilty plea and sentenced him to one year executed in the Marion County Jail, enhanced by one year executed in jail and two years executed in the Marion County Community Corrections work release program for being a habitual substance offender.

But Brown declined to approve Hall’s sentencing recommendation and instead sentenced Long to one year executed in jail, enhanced by two years executed in the Indiana Department of Correction and one year executed in the work release program.

Long argued that Hall was statutorily authorized to impose his sentence and Brown erred by rejecting it. But the statute only allows a master commissioner to impose a sentence on a person if the master commissioner presides at a criminal trial. In this case, Long pleaded guilty before Hall; she did not preside over a trial for him.

The judges rejected Long’s argument that Boyer v. State, 883 N.E.2d 158 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008), or Ivy v. State, 947 N.E.2d 496 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011), supported his claim.

 

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