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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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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