ILNews

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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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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