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Justices divided over vacating transfer in drug case

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Three of the five Indiana justices have decided that the Indiana Court of Appeals decision in Andrew Humphreys’ case challenging his habitual offender adjudication should stand, so they voted to vacate transfer granted in December.

Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justices Steven David and Mark Massa decided March 28 after oral arguments and further review that the Supreme Court should not have assumed jurisdiction over Andrew Humphreys v. State of Indiana, 79S04-1212-CR-670. The three reinstated the not-for-publication decision by the Court of Appeals that found the Tippecanoe Superior Court erred in applying a 16-year sentence for Humphreys’ adjudication as a habitual offender.

Humphreys appealed his convictions and sentences for Class B felonies conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and dealing meth and Class D felony illegal drug lab, as well as his habitual offender adjudication. The appellate judges concluded that Humphreys could be adjudicated as a habitual offender because he was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture meth, which isn’t a drug offense for purposes of I.C. 35-50-2-8(b)(3). But the trial court should not have treated the habitual offender adjudication as a separate crime for which a separate sentence should be imposed. The judges ordered the court to specify which of the methamphetamine-related convictions is enhanced by the adjudication.

Justices Loretta Rush and Robert Rucker disagreed with their colleagues, with Rush writing a 3-page dissent.

“The Court of Appeals held that even though Defendant’s sentence for actually dealing methamphetamine may not be enhanced under our habitual offender statute, his sentence for conspiracy to deal may be. It based that conclusion on Owens v. State, 929 N.E.2d 754 (Ind. 2010), when Owens actually compels the opposite conclusion – not just because penal statutes must be strictly construed against the State, but as a matter of legislative intent. I would therefore reverse Defendant’s sentence enhancement,” she explained.

 

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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