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COA upholds 125-year child-molesting sentence

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In upholding multiple child-molesting convictions and a 125-year sentence, the Indiana Court of Appeals has rejected a woman’s argument about why her penalty should be reduced based in part on the very young ages of the victims.

The state’s second highest appellate court issued a decision today in Samantha Light v. State of Indiana, No. 23A01-0912-CR-600, which comes from Fountain Circuit Court and involves facts that the authoring appellate judge describes as “especially repugnant.”

Late last year, the 26-year-old Light pleaded guilty to three counts of Class A felony child molesting. In September 2008, Light and her boyfriend, 31-year-old Stephen Quick II, had engaged in and videotaped various sexual acts with a 6-year-old boy, 1-year-old boy, and 2-month-old girl, according to the court opinion. The couple was arrested and charged in March 2009, and Light later entered into a plea agreement dismissing two other felony child-exploitation counts.

Prosecutors agreed not to make any sentencing recommendations to the trial court. At sentencing, Fountain Circuit Judge Susan Orr Henderson imposed a total 125-year-sentence for Light. Quick received the same sentence on those three charges in March, and his appeal is now pending before the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In arguing for a sentence reduction, Light contends that her sentence is inappropriate in light of her character and the nature of her offenses. With a forceful and descriptive eight-page ruling, the appellate panel rejected her challenges and affirmed the lower judge’s decision.

“Light concedes that her offenses are shocking in nature but suggests that the young age of the victims, who perhaps will not remember the events and may thereafter suffer less psychological trauma, ameliorates the grave nature of her offenses,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the unanimous panel, pointing out that the then-6-year-old does remember the events. “In any event, we are unpursuaded that forced group sexual activity with young children and infants, by their own caretaker and/or mother, is somehow less depraved if the victims do not recall each excruciating detail for the rest of their lives. To the contrary, the young age of the victims, whose youth and vulnerability made them easy prey, highlights the depravity of Light’s offenses and her lack of character in willingly engaging in such unthinkable acts.”

The court also dismissed her claims about remorse and clean criminal history being factors to consider reducing the sentence, as well as her argument that her willingness to plead guilty helped redeem her character.

Pointing to Indiana Supreme Court precedent in which the justices have reduced sentences in certain cases where multiple molestation convictions led to particularly lengthy terms, the appellate panel said this case is easily distinguishable and doesn’t warrant a reduction.

“Indeed, given the circumstances of Light’s crimes, her 125-year sentence is fully within the navigational buoys of that body of law,” Judge Bradford wrote.
 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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