ILNews

COA reverses sentencing on grounds it exceeded statutory maximum

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The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a defendant that her sentence for a Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana exceeded the statutory maximum and remanded the case to the trial court for resentencing.

After a search of her home in July 2010, Kathleen Peterink was charged with possession of cocaine or narcotic drug as a Class D felony and possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor. She pleaded guilty to the second count and the state dismissed the first.

On Nov. 1, 2011, the trial court in Noble County sentenced Peterink to one year of imprisonment, suspended to probation. As a special condition of probation, Peterink had to serve six months in home detention for which she would not receive good time credit.

 Peterink argued that her sentence exceeded the statutory maximum for a Class A misdemeanor. She cited Jennings v. State in support of her view that the trial court gave her a two-year sentence by sentencing her to one year suspended and one year probation.

The state did not challenge Peterink’s reliance upon Jennings but asked the court to revisit the issue addressed by Jennings with regard to misdemeanor sentencing.

Noting that Jennings holds the term of imprisonment to include both the executed and suspended portions of a sentence, the court agreed with Peterink. It reversed the sentence imposed by the trial court and remanded for resentencing.

In his dissenting opinion, Judge Michael Barnes stated he would not follow the Jennings holding. He wrote that Peterink’s sentence does not exceed the statutory maximum, saying such an interpretation would “fundamentally disrupt the sentencing practices of trial courts.”  

The court also reversed the trial court’s order that Peterink serve six months of home detention without receiving good-time credit. Citing an ambiguity in the state code, the court ruled that a “fair reading of the statutes taken together” leads to Peterink being entitled to good time credit.


 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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