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Justices order man to be re-sentenced

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A man who received 50 years for murder should be re-sentenced because of conflicting amendments involving the penalty for murder at the time the judge handed down the sentence, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.

When Clifton Mauricio murdered a man at a car wash in 1994, there were two amendments on the books involving the penalty for murder. The first amendment set a 50-year presumptive sentence with a 60-year maximum and 40-year minimum. The second amendment set a 40-year presumptive sentence with a 60-year maximum and 30-year minimum sentence. The second amendment didn’t incorporate the first one. The statue was later corrected in 1995. The Supreme Court later held that the 40-year presumptive sentence was the correct one to use.

Mauricio received a 50-year sentence for murder in which the trial judge said giving him the maximum sentence was “real tempting” and that only Mauricio’s young age was a mitigating factor. The judge ordered him committed to the Department of Correction for 50 years, “the presumptive sentence” on the murder count.

His sentence was affirmed on direct appeal and his post-conviction relief petition on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel was denied. The Indiana Court of Appeals allowed him to file a successive petition, which the trial court denied and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

In Clifton Mauricio v. State of Indiana, No. 02S03-1009-PC-501, the Supreme Court reversed because Mauricio’s counsel should have clearly raised his sentencing claim on direct appeal that he was sentenced under the incorrect statute.

“To be sure, it is plausible that the trial judge could have intended to sentence Mauricio to fifty years for reasons unrelated to P.L. 164-1994. From this record, however, we cannot say that the trial judge clearly intended to sentence Mauricio to fifty years as a specific term rather than as the presumptive sentence. This is sufficient to meet the Strickland test on prejudice,” wrote Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard.

The high court remanded for re-sentencing. Chief Justice Shepard noted the trial court may use its discretion to impose any appropriate sentence when it re-sentences Mauricio.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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