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Judges differ on pretrial credit award

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Each judge on an Indiana Court of Appeals panel weighed in with a separate opinion as to how much pretrial credit time a defendant, who pleaded guilty to one charge - other charges were dismissed - is entitled to, or if he is entitled to any time at all.

Chief Judge John Baker, and Judges Edward Najam and Cale Bradford authored separate opinions on the issue in Keland L. Brown v. State of Indiana, No. 34A05-0812-CR-716.

Keland Brown was arrested March 6, 2008, on various dealing, possession, and false informing charges. While he was in jail on those charges, the state filed four additional charges against him and "arrested" him April 10 on those charges. He remained in jail until his October 15 sentencing hearing, at which he pleaded guilty to dealing in cocaine as a Class B felony, one of the four charges added April 10. In exchange for the guilty plea, the state dismissed all the other pending charges and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

Judge Najam, who authored the lead opinion, believed Brown was entitled to credit time from April 10 to October 15, the day of his sentencing hearing. He cited Dolan v. State, 120 N.E.2d 1364, 1372 (Ind. Ct. App. 1981), and Stephens v. State, 735 N.E.2d 278, 284, (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), to support his decision.

"Here, while some of those charges - and the credit time accrued against those charges - were dismissed pursuant to the plea agreement, Brown nonetheless still accrued credit time towards his eventual sentence from April 10 to October 15. The trial court erred in not awarding Brown credit for that period of time served," Judge Najam wrote.

Judge Kirsch opined that when a trial court is sentencing pursuant to a plea agreement that resolves multiple charges, including the charge for which the defendant is being held in jail, that credit time should be accorded against the sentence ultimately imposed absent any provision in the plea agreement to the contrary.

Chief Judge Baker wrote that Dewees v. State, 444 N.E.2d 332, 332 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983), which ruled Dewees wasn't entitled to any credit which may have accrued on a separate charge, was instructive to Brown's situation. Combining the decision in Dewees, with the rule that credit is to be applied for confinement time that is a "result of the criminal charge for which sentence is being imposed," the chief judge believed the trial court properly denied Brown's request for pretrial credit time.

The judges did unanimously agree that the trial court didn't abuse its discretion by not identifying Brown's guilty plea as a mitigating factor during sentencing and that his sentence is appropriate under Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B).

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

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