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Habitual offender amendment after jury empaneled ruled error

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A habitual offender enhancement for a man convicted of robbery cannot stand because the state amended the underlying charges after a jury was empaneled, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

George Nunley was convicted of Class C robbery and sentenced to eight years in prison by a Clark Circuit jury for stealing DVDs from a Rite-Aid drugstore. The jury enhanced Nunley’s sentence by adding 12 years when he was found to be a habitual offender.

But a day after the jury had been seated, the state sought to amend the prior charges against Nunley that it presented to underlie a habitual offender finding, and Judge Daniel Moore permitted the amended charges over Nunley’s objection.

The appellate panel found ample evidence supporting Nunley’s robbery conviction but reversed the habitual offender finding, remanding to the trial court to correct his sentence accordingly in Geroge A. Nunley v. State of Indiana, 10A04-1212-CR-630.

“The amendment here was proposed after the commencement of trial and it prejudiced Nunley’s substantial rights,” Chief Judge Margret Robb wrote for the panel that also included judges James Kirsch and Patricia Riley.

“Additionally, the State, commendably, admitted at the time of the proposed amendment that there was no good cause for the amendment. The convictions that were proposed to be added were all from that same court, and so were available to the State long before trial began and it was apparently simple oversight that led to the listing of the wrong convictions on the original information and a failure to catch the mistake before trial began.

“We therefore conclude that no part of Indiana Code section 35-34-1-5 allowed the amendment that was proposed by the State here,” Robb wrote.

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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