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Court affirms guilty but mentally ill sentence in DUI, resisting case

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A six-year sentence for a man who fled from Greensburg police while intoxicated, crashed his van, injured his passenger and ran from the scene was affirmed Friday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In Dale Douglas Perkins Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 16A01-1112-CR-603, judges unanimously ruled that the Decatur Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by imposing consecutive three-year sentences after Perkins pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated as a Class D felony and resisting law enforcement as a Class D felony. When he was arrested, Perkins’ blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit.

The state dropped charges of criminal confinement and being a habitual substance offender in the plea agreement.

Perkins argued that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering consecutive sentences because his “crimes are intertwined,” according to court pleadings.

The panel also dismissed Perkins’ argument that the sentence was inappropriate due to his mental health. A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation determined that Perkins, 38 at the time of his conviction, was psychotic. He had been diagnosed as schizophrenic in his youth.

Judges ruled that Perkins had been able to control his behavior during incarceration and that his long criminal record in Indiana and Florida, including repeat DUI convictions and crimes including burglary, theft and attempted robbery, didn’t make the sentence inappropriate.

“Perkins keeps committing the same offenses, demonstrating that he has not learned that when he drinks alcohol he will commit unlawful acts,” Senior Judge William Garrard wrote for the panel.   

“We conclude that the nexus between his mental illness and the instant offenses is not so strong as to require a different result,” Garrard wrote. “Perkins’ mental illness does not render his sentence inappropriate, particularly in light of the manner in which Perkins committed these offenses.”


 

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