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Consecutive sentences in drug buy case ruled inappropriate

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A man sentenced to 40 years in prison after he sold crack cocaine to undercover agents in two separate controlled buys received an inappropriate punishment, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.

Pedro Alvarez was convicted of two counts of Class B felony dealing in cocaine, and a jury convicted him in absentia and sentenced him to serve consecutive 20-year terms after he was found in Mississippi.

The appellate panel ordered the sentences be served concurrently in Pedro Alvarez v. State of Indiana, 09A02-1203-CR-241.

Judge Rudy R. Pyle III wrote that the court has held that consecutive sentences for multiple counts based on nearly identical police buys was inappropriate, citing Rios v. State, 930 N.E.2d 664 (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), and Bell v. State, 881 N.E.2d 1080 (Ind Ct. App. 2008).

Alvarez did not prevail in his appellate claim that the prosecution’s use of a jail mug shot from a prior arrest caused him undue prejudice. The court has held that when a defendant fails to appear, mug shots are of probative value for establishing identity.

“The Cass County Sheriff’s Department only possessed a photograph of Alvarez from a prior arrest and not his current case. The mug shot was redacted to remove references to the prior arrest,” Pyle wrote. “… Had Alvarez simply appeared for his trial, there would have been no reason to admit the mug shot.”

Alvarez was represented on appeal by Lisa M. Traylor-Wolff of Logansport, a former senior judge who was charged Monday in a disciplinary action filed by the Supreme Court.


 

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  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?

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