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COA orders reduced sentence in first impressions case

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In reversing a sentence for a serious violent felon, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that intending to commit a “crime of violence” is not, in itself, a crime of violence.

In Zarumin Coleman v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-1101-CR-12, Zarumin Coleman appealed his 60-year sentence for one count of Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery and one count of Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

Coleman argued that the sentence exceeded the maximum permissible for engaging in a single episode of criminal conduct. The appeals court examined Indiana Code Section 35-50-1-2(c), which states in part that the court may order sentences to be served consecutively, even if they are not imposed at the same time. But, the code section states: “However, except for crimes of violence, the total of the consecutive terms of imprisonment, exclusive of terms of imprisonment under IC 35-50-2-8 and IC 35-50-2-10, to which the defendant is sentenced for felony convictions arising out of an episode of criminal conduct shall not exceed the advisory sentence for a felony which is one (1) class of felony higher than the most serious of the felonies for which the person has been convicted.”

The appeals court considered whether felony conspiracy to commit robbery is a crime of violence, with respect to consecutive sentencing.

Coleman pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and firearm possession charges, following a botched robbery. Coleman had instructed his girlfriend to give a gun to one of the parties involved in the robbery attempt, and he drove the would-be robbers to a home that reportedly contained money and marijuana. Ronald Davis entered the home, and shot and killed two women and two children, using the gun Coleman’s girlfriend provided.

The appeals court held that despite the tragic events in the home, no evidence exists to suggest that Davis actually committed a robbery, as he fled without any property. It also concluded that intending to commit a crime of violence is not a crime of violence, and therefore, Coleman’s sentence was inappropriate.

“We are compelled to conclude a sentence of sixty years on convictions for Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery and Class B felony possession of a firearm by a (serious violent felon) violate the single episode of criminal conduct rule for non-‘crimes of violence,’” the court wrote in its opinion.  

The court reversed and remanded for the trial court to resentence Coleman to a total term of 55 years. In accordance with Ind. Code Section 35-50-2-3(a), the 55-year term is the advisory sentence for murder, the next class of felony above Class A. The appeals court found that sentence to be appropriate, in light of the nature of the offenses and Coleman’s character, and refused to reduce it further to a term of 45 years.

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  1. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  2. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  3. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  4. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  5. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

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