ILNews

COA: post-conviction proceedings not equivalent to civil proceedings

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a post-conviction court isn’t required to accept any proffered agreement from a defendant because that type of proceeding isn’t the same as a civil hearing and the Indiana Supreme Court has given local judges final authority in accepting or denying agreements.

In Steven Jackson v. State of Indiana, No. 31A01-1109-PC-412, the three-judge appellate panel affirmed a ruling from Harrison Superior Judge  Roger Davis that partially granted a post-conviction relief petition but denied the appellant-defendant’s request to accept a proffered agreement in that hearing.

Steven Jackson pled guilty in 2007 to felony operating while intoxicated and to his status as a habitual substance offender, resulting from a prior Floyd County drunk driving conviction. While the appellate court’s record doesn’t reflect the sentence Jackson received from the trial court, Jackson was apparently placed on probation for an unspecified amount of time and in 2010 the state filed a petition to revoke his probation based on an alleged violation of operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic offender. In December 2010, Jackson’s counsel filed a PCR petition seeking to vacate his guilty pleas to his OWI conviction and habitual status enhancement. At some point, Jackson reached an agreement with the state to set aside the felony conviction and enhancement to allow him to plead guilty to public intoxication, and his sentence would be time served.

At a hearing, the post-conviction court denied the agreement in its entirety but granted Jackson’s petition, setting aside his habitual enhancement and reducing the Class D felony OWI conviction to a Class A misdemeanor.

On appeal, Jackson argued the post-conviction court had no discretion to deny his proffered agreement because in civil cases trial courts have no discretion and must accept agreed judgments as presented. He argued the court couldn’t consider the substance of the proposed agreement and it was merely required to accept it without question.

Citing Indiana Supreme Court precedent from 2001, the appellate panel disagreed with Jackson’s contention that a post-conviction proceeding is equivalent to a civil proceeding because it’s a “collateral attack on the validity of a criminal conviction.” Even if the process is civil in nature, the PCR process still stems from a criminal conviction and those rules apply.

Judge Carr Darden wrote for the unanimous panel, which also included Judges John Baker and Mark Bailey.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  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?

ADVERTISEMENT