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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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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