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COA rejects claim overhaul of Criminal Code shows Class A felonies disproportionate

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A defendant attempted to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that the Class A felony classifications for dealing or possession of cocaine are disproportionate by pointing to the recent revisions to the Criminal Code. The new criminal classifications and sentencing structure that take effect next year no longer include these crimes in the highest level of felonies.

Christopher Cross was convicted of several drug and weapons offenses as a result of his role in the sale of cocaine in Shelby County in 2006 about 120 feet from a youth center. He was originally sentenced to 50 years after being found to be a habitual offender. After a joint petition for post-conviction relief was filed by Cross and the state in January, he was resentenced to 38 years.

On appeal, Cross contended that the classification of his acts of dealing in cocaine and possession of cocaine as Class A felonies was disproportionate to the nature of his offenses and that he suffered certain double jeopardy violations.

The appellate judges disagreed with Cross that dealing in cocaine and possession of cocaine should not be classified as Class A felonies because the offenses lack the serious physical harm that is inherent in other Class A felony offenses. The judges also found Cross’ argument relating to the revision of the criminal code to be unpersuasive.

“Nothing in House Enrolled Act 1006 suggests that the overhaul of the criminal classifications and sentencing structure should apply retroactively. To the contrary, House Enrolled Act 1006 indicates that crimes committed before July 1, 2014, should be charged and sentenced pursuant to the old classifications and sentencing structure,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote in Christopher Cross v. State of Indiana, 73A01-1303-CR-134.

There were not double jeopardy violations involving Cross’ conviction for Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license and the sentence enhancement imposed due to his firearm use during the commission of the offense of dealing in cocaine. The record contains independent evidence which shows he used the handgun during the commission of the act of dealing in cocaine instead of merely possessing the gun.

The judges ordered his conviction for Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license vacated because it is a lesser-included offense of the Class C felony conviction.

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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