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High court takes sentence-review case

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The state's highest court has decided to take a case in which a defendant questioned whether the appellate review of a sentence should consider the suspended portion of a sentence as qualitatively different from the executed portion when determining if a sentence is inappropriate.

The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to Desmond Davidson v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-1001-CR-41, in which Desmond Davidson appealed his advisory 545-day sentence -180 days executed and 365 days suspended to probation.

The Court of Appeals has been unable to reach a unanimous agreement on this issue: some judges believed suspended sentences ought to be treated no differently from executed sentences for purposes of appellate review. Others believed a sentence is not a "maximum" one, even if it equals the maximum time allowed by statute if part of that time is suspended.

In Davidson, the Court of Appeals held that in the appellate review of sentencing decisions, the court wouldn't just look at the number of years of the sentence but would look at the total sentence imposed. The appellate court upheld Davidson's sentence.

Judge Michael Barnes concurred in result in a separate opinion because he believed the majority opinion and Jenkins v. State, 909 N.E.2d 1080, 1085-86 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), which the majority opinion relied on, are inconsistent with Mask v. State, 829 N.E.2d 932 (Ind. 2005). Jenkins held that a maximum sentence is not just a sentence of maximum length but a fully executed sentence of maximum length.

Judge Barnes wrote he would review Davidson's sentence as the 545-day sentence because it's his one chance for full appellate review of the 545-day sentence. He also wrote the trial court didn't abuse its discretion in sentencing him.

The justices denied transfer to Jenkins in October.

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  1. 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?

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

  3. 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.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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