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Court affirms sentence for non-support of 8 kids

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A trial court didn't err in imposing three consecutive sentences following a man's guilty plea to three counts of felony non-support of a dependent because his failure to pay didn't constitute a single episode of criminal activity, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

Charles D. Gilliam appealed his 24-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to three counts of Class C felony non-support of a dependent, following his failure to pay child support for his eight children with three different women. Gilliam believed his failure to pay support between Jan. 1, 2001, and December 21, 2004, was just one bad act and arose from a single episode of criminal conduct.

In Charles Dwayne Gilliam v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0808-CR-420, the Court of Appeals disagreed with Gilliam's arguments and his reliance on Boss v. State, 702 N.E.2d 782 (Ind. Ct. App. 1998). Boss was charged with non-support of his minor children in 1996; the time periods noted in the charging information were three successive time periods, each separated by a single day. His consecutive sentences were overturned because the charging information alleged his non-support occurred over "contiguous" or successive periods over a short period of time.

But Gilliam's offenses don't constitute a single episode of crime, and he seems to confuse continuous obligation to pay child support with the concept of multiple events constituting a "single episode of conduct," wrote Judge Carr Darden. The charge of his failure to pay child support for three children from one mother can be related without reference in anyway to the details of his failure to pay for his children in the other two counts, wrote the judge.

Judge Michael Barnes concurred in result with the majority but believed it wasn't accurate to analyze Gilliam's arguments regarding consecutive sentencing on the basis of whether his multiple convictions for not paying child support constituted a "single episode of criminal conduct." Instead, he believed it would be sufficient to say consecutive sentences are permissible and justified in the instant case because of the existence of multiple victims.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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