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Judges differ in stipulation matter

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A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed on whether a defendant pleaded guilty to the enhancement of his auto theft conviction based on his previous conviction for a similar crime.

In Emmanuel Stringer v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0806-CR-536, Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented from the majority's affirmation of Emmanuel Stringer's convictions of auto theft and operating never having received a license. Judges Patricia Riley and Carr Darden found Stringer effectively pleaded guilty to an enhancement of auto theft as a Class C felony after he stipulated the prior conviction. The state had introduced a certified copy of prior auto theft and receiving stolen parts convictions of Stringer's. His defense counsel declined to object because there was no basis for objecting to the testimony. Stringer was sentenced to 6-years executed on the auto theft as a Class C felony conviction and 60 days on the operating a vehicle never having received a license conviction.

Stringer appealed, arguing the trial court didn't properly advise him of the rights he was waiving. Citing Vanzandt v. State, 730 N.E.2d 721, 725 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), the majority ruled Stringer effectively pleaded guilty to the enhancement of auto theft to a Class C felony after his defense attorney stipulated to the prior conviction. Since he pleaded guilty, Stringer's challenge of the knowing and voluntary nature of his plea can't be made by direct appeal, but must be done through a petition for post-conviction relief, wrote Judge Riley.

In her dissent, Judge Vaidik wrote she believed Stringer stipulated to the admission of the certified copy of his prior conviction for auto theft and based on that, the trial court found him guilty of the enhancement. She would affirm the trial court, finding Stringer properly brought this direct appeal.

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  1. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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