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Divided COA adds to difference of opinion on partial consecutive sentences

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A Court of Appeals opinion issued Monday further deepened a divide on whether judges may impose partially consecutive sentences.

The court in a 2-1 decision affirmed denial of Bryant E. Wilson’s motion to correct erroneous sentence for his conviction in 1996 of Class A felony charges of rape and criminal deviate conduct, and Class B felony robbery. Wilson was sentenced to an aggregate executed prison term of 50 years – concurrent 45-year terms for the Class A felony, and 20 years for the robbery conviction, with five years of that sentence served consecutive to the 45-year terms.

“Simply put, Wilson’s sentencing judgment is not erroneous on its face, and therefore the trial court did not err in denying his motion to correct erroneous sentence. Consequently, we affirm,” Judge Terry Crone wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Ezra Friedlander.

Chief Judge Margret Robb found differently and would have reversed the Grant Superior Court’s denial of motion to correct error. “Because the sentence in question was not explicitly permitted by statute, I believe it was therefore erroneous,” Robb concluded.

“Because I believe that courts are limited to imposing sentences that are authorized by statute, rather than only being limited to sentences that are not prohibited by statute, I respectfully dissent.”

Wilson argued in his pro se appeal, Bryant E. Wilson v. State of Indiana, 27A02-1212-CR-1012, that the trial court “lacked statutory authority in holding a part of his sentence in abeyance.”

“Wilson cites no statute that expressly prohibits partially consecutive sentences, and in fact there is currently a difference of opinion on this Court regarding whether such sentences are permissible,” Crone wrote. “Compare Hull v. State, 799 N.E.2d 1178, 1182 and n.1 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003) (disapproving of partially consecutive sentences for two counts of murder), with Merida v. State, 977 N.E.2d 406, 409-10 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012) (disagreeing with Hull’s rationale and noting that Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2 ‘does not specifically prohibit partially consecutive sentences such as the one imposed in Hull.’) (Crone, J., dissenting), trans. granted (2013).

“We note that Hull was decided more than seven years after Wilson was sentenced in 1996, and thus there was no legal authority in 1996 that expressly disapproved of partially consecutive sentences,” Crone wrote.
 

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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