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COA to trial judges: enter restitution orders at sentencing

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The Indiana Court of Appeals sent a case in ‘procedural limbo’ back to trial court to enter a restitution order within 30 days, which will allow the defendant to appeal his aggravated battery conviction. The appellate judges also advised trial courts on the pitfalls of postponing ordering restitution when ordering a sentence.

Bobby Alexander was convicted of two counts of Class B felony aggravated battery for shooting Robert Seger and Ryan Little. At the sentencing hearing, the state sought restitution for Seger; Alexander asked for the restitution hearing to occur at a later date so his counsel could look into discounts Seger may have received on his medical bills. The trial court had not entered a restitution order when it sentenced Alexander to time in the Department of Correction.

Alexander filed his appeal regarding the conviction pertaining to Little while his restitution hearing was still pending. Restitution still has not been ordered.

The state sought dismissal of the appeal, which the COA’s motions panel denied.

In Bobby Alexander v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1207-CR-351, the state asked the appellate court to overturn its motions panel’s decision. The state argued based on Haste v. State, 967 N.E.2d 576 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012), that Alexander does not have a final judgment under Appellate Rule 2(H). Although “reluctant” to overrule orders decided by its motions panel, the COA pointed out that the trial court has not entered a restitution order, so it dismissed the appeal.

“Given the procedural limbo in which this case stands, we remand this case to the trial court with instructions for the trial court to enter a restitution order within thirty (30) days of this Court’s opinion,” Judge Rudy Pyle III wrote. After the restitution order is entered, Alexander then can file a notice to appeal.

Pyle noted that it’s common for trial courts to impose a sentence while taking restitution under advisement.

“This practice, however, can prove to be problematic—as it has in this case—because it delays a defendant’s ability to begin an appeal due to the fact that a final order has not been entered. Consequently, this practice would affect a trial judge’s ability to advise a defendant of his appellate rights,” he explained. “Furthermore, when a trial court enters a sentence but takes restitution under advisement, the trial court is still subject to the ninety (90) day time limitation in Indiana Trial Rule 53.2 ('the lazy judge rule'), which is applicable to criminal proceedings pursuant to Indiana Criminal Rule 15. Therefore, the best practice would be for trial courts to enter an order of restitution at the same time as sentencing.”

 

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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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