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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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