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Judges find man's sentence violates statute

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The Indiana Court of Appeals relied on a case from the state’s highest court to rule on whether a term of imprisonment for the purposes of Indiana Code 35-50-3-1(b) includes both the executed and suspended portions of a sentence.

Joey Jennings challenged his conviction of Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief and the sentence imposed by the Monroe Circuit Court – 180 days in jail with 150 suspended and 360 days of probation. Jennings didn’t think the state presented sufficient evidence to prove he was the person who slashed Cody Pope’s tire and scratched his truck. He also believed he was sentenced in excess of the statutory maximum sentence of 180 days because his terms of imprisonment and probation exceeded one year. This is prohibited under I.C. 35-50-3-1-(b).

The appellate court affirmed Jennings’ conviction in Joey Jennings v. State of Indiana, No. 53A01-1010-CR-541, finding that even though the evidence was circumstantial, it was enough to convict him. Witnesses heard the sound of air, like air brakes going off, and then Jennings’ car drove off quickly.

Regarding his sentence, the judges agreed with Jennings. They discussed several cases, including Beck v. State, 790 N.E.2d 520, 523 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003), that have construed the phrase “term of imprisonment,” but could not be controlling authority. Instead, they relied on Mask v. State, 829 N.E.2d 932 (Ind. 2005), to find that Jennings’ sentence needed to be revised.  The justices reasoned that incarceration under I.C. 35-50-1-2(c) doesn’t mean the period of executed time alone, and there is always the possibility that someone could have their parole or probation revoked and returned to prison.

“In other words, the imposition of a suspended sentence leaves open the real possibility that an individual will be ‘sent to incarceration for some period’ before being released from any penal obligation,” the Mask court wrote.

“We conclude that Jennings’s term of imprisonment for the purposes of Indiana Code section 35-50-3-1(b) includes not only the thirty-day executed portion of his sentence, but also the 150-day suspended term. Thus, the trial court’s imposition of a 360-day term of probation in addition to Jennings’s 180-day term of imprisonment caused Jennings to serve more than one year of combined imprisonment and probation, in violation of Indiana Code section 35-50-3-1(b),” wrote Judge Paul Mathias. “We therefore remand this cause to the trial court for a redetermination of Jennings’s period of probation, not to exceed 185 days.”


 

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  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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