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Justices approve 'double enhancement'

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The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the use of the same prior conviction to both elevate a defendant’s charge to a felony and find him a habitual substance offender because of explicit legislative direction on the enhancements.

In Clint Beldon v. State of Indiana, No. 43S05-0910-CR-496, Clint Beldon appealed the trial court’s usage of a prior Class D felony conviction to elevate his most recent conviction of operating while intoxicated in a manner that endangers a person from a Class A misdemeanor to Class D felony. Beldon also was sentenced as a habitual substance offender.

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed, but the Supreme Court found the trial court could use the same prior conviction based on legislation. Beldon’s 2003 Class D felony OWI conviction, which provided the predicate offense for the progressive penalty elevation of his misdemeanor conviction to a felony, was used as a predicate offense for the specialized habitual offender finding, not for a general habitual offender finding.

In general, absent explicit legislative direction, a sentence imposed following a conviction under a progressive penalty statute can’t be further increased under either the general habitual offender statute or a specific habitualized offender statute. But the requisite legislative direction exists to authorize an underlying elevated conviction to be enhanced by the specialized habitual substance offender enhancement, wrote Justice Frank Sullivan. A 1996 amendment provided direction that prior convictions for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, including those where the charge has been elevated because of a prior conviction, properly served as predicate offenses for habitual substance offender enhancements.

The justices also ruled against Beldon’s argument that the 2003 OWI conviction and the instant offense are not “unrelated” because the former was used to enhance the latter. But the high court already rejected that argument in Beach v. State, 496 N.E.2d 43, 44 (Ind. 1986).
 

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  1. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  2. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  3. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  4. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

  5. Oh yes, lifetime tenure. The Founders gave that to the federal judges .... at that time no federal district courts existed .... so we are talking the Supreme Court justices only in context ....so that they could rule against traditional marriage and for the other pet projects of the sixties generation. Right. Hmmmm, but I must admit, there is something from that time frame that seems to recommend itself in this context ..... on yes, from a document the Founders penned in 1776: " He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

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