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Judges uphold sentence increase on appeal

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the defendant’s sentence that they had increased on appeal in March in an opinion on rehearing today and addressed the characteristics of an Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) review.

In Jeffrey E. Akard v. State of Indiana, No. 79A02-0904-CR-345, Jeffrey Akard asked the court to rehear his appeal because he believed the Court of Appeals’ upward revision of his sentence for rape and other convictions violated the party presentation principle. The principle is a general rule that courts rely on the parties to frame the issues for decision and that the act of a court raising an issue sua sponte is normally reserved for situations requiring protection of pro se litigants’ rights.

In an March 30, 2010, opinion, the appellate court decided to increase Akard’s 93-year sentence to 118 years because of the heinous, violent acts he committed against his victim. The judges reviewed his sentence under Appellate Rule 7(B).

By requesting a review under Rule 7(B), in light of McCullough v. State, Akard had the opportunity to present his arguments under the rule’s standard knowing that McCullough allowed for an appellate court to revise a sentence upward or downward, wrote Judge L. Mark Bailey. Akard also was the one to present the issue and laid the framework for the sentence revision.

Akard also argued that parties can’t address the potential double jeopardy issues implicated by a revised sentence under Rule 7(B) revisions.

“This argument evidences a miscomprehension of the mechanics of double jeopardy and 7(B) review of an aggregate sentence,” wrote the judge. “Double jeopardy is not an issue of sentencing error. Rather, it potentially arises at the moment judgments of conviction are entered.”

Double jeopardy or any other issue that can be raised independently isn’t relevant to the independent appellate review of an aggregate sentence under Rule 7(B). The only constraint is the revision must be in the legal range set by the legislature, and Akard’s increased sentence fell in that range.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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