Habeas writ reverses resentencing from divided COA

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A Fulton County man who filed a writ of habeas corpus claiming he was falsely imprisoned won a reversal of a clarified sentencing order Tuesday, with one Court of Appeals judge saying he should be freed entirely.

In Derek Hale v. State of Indiana, 25A04-1301-CR-15, a majority of the appellate panel held that the trial court abused its discretion when it entered an order clarifying Hale’s sentence on a Class B felony possession of methamphetamine charge. The clarification by Fulton Superior Judge Wayne E. Steele added a year to the time Hale was ordered to serve on community corrections.

"To the extent that Judge Steele 'clarified' Hale’s sentence based upon his own recollection of what sentence he intended to impose, rather than examining the sentencing order and determining from it whether Hale was being detained illegally, we find that Judge Steele abused his discretion in ruling upon that petition," according to the majority opinion written by Judge Elaine Brown and joined by Judge Patricia Riley.

The opinion held that upon Hale’s completion of two years on work release he will have accumulated four years of good-time credit against his 10-year suspended sentence, transition to home detention and serve on probation thereafter.

But Judge Cale Bradford said in dissent that Hale had made his case. "Because I believe that Hale met his burden of proof of showing that he is being illegally detained in the Fulton County work release program ... and, as a result, is entitled to immediate release, I respectfully dissent," Bradford wrote.

"In the instant matter, Hale’s verified petition stated that he had been confined in the work release program for more than one year and that he had earned one day of credit time for each day served. The confining authority did not present a return containing any evidence that would disprove the statements contained in Hale’s verified petition. As such, Hale’s complaint was sufficient to make a prima facie showing that he was entitled to immediate release because he had completed his two-year term of confinement in the work release program," Bradford wrote.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.