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Judges affirm recommitment to DOC

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Ruling on a matter having no cases directly on point, the Indiana Court of Appeals held a trial court had personal jurisdiction over the defendant when it reordered him back to the Indiana Department of Corrections several years after discovering he was released prematurely.

In October 2010, the Delaware Circuit Court held a hearing on whether Eddie Vance Jr. had served his sentence relating to a plea bargain he made in October 2006 regarding a drug charge. His plea agreement required him to serve four years in the DOC, and that sentence was to be served consecutively to any sentence imposed in a separate case for his violation of probation because of the drug charge.

Vance served his revoked sentence in the probation violation case, but he never served his sentence under the drug plea and was released by the DOC to parole in 2007. After his release, he had other run-ins with the law which led to the discovery that Vance had not served his four-year sentence on the drug charge.

At the October 2010 hearing on the matter, Vance testified he told prison officials at the DOC that they were releasing him before he served the sentence on the drug charge and that his case manager told him the sentencing order on that charge wasn’t on file with the DOC. The trial judge found Vance didn’t serve his sentence on the drug charge and ordered him to the custody of the DOC to serve the four-year sentence imposed in 2006.

In Eddie Vance, Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 18A04-1011-CR-701, Vance claimed the trial court didn’t have personal jurisdiction to order him to serve the four-year sentence after the DOC released him. The judges found he waived this argument on appeal, but the argument would fail regardless. The judges looked to Kindred v. State, 362 N.E.2d 168, 169 (Ind. Ct. App. 1977), and Woods v. State, 583 N.E.2d 1211 (Ind. 1992), to determine whether the trial court had personal jurisdiction over him.

They found Kindred and Woods to be distinguishable because Vance didn’t “surrender” himself as the defendant in Kindred did and he never contacted the trial court directly to inform it of his release. Unlike the defendant in Woods, who lived a law-abiding life while awaiting resolution of his case, Vance committed other crimes after his mistaken release from the DOC, wrote Judge Patricia Riley.
 
“Allowing Vance to be discharged now from the DOC or be credited with time against his sentence would create a windfall of a sentence shorter than the one he had bargained for under his plea agreement,” she wrote.

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