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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. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

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

  3. 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?

  4. 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"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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