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Justices reduce sentence of man found asleep in office

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Four of the five Indiana Supreme Court justices decided that the man found asleep in the waiting room of a dental office – who had an empty handgun on him – should only be sentenced to 20 years for the crime instead of 40 years.

Staff at a dentist’s office found Glenn Carpenter in their waiting room and called police after they couldn’t wake him. He smelled of alcohol. The police were able to wake him up; Carpenter didn’t know how he got in the dentist’s office. Police found an unloaded handgun, marijuana, cocaine, and a crack pipe on him.

A jury found him guilty of Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon; Carpenter pleaded guilty to the habitual offender count. He appealed his 40-year sentence – 20 years on the felony conviction and 20 years for the habitual offender finding – which a divided Indiana Court of Appeals upheld.

Addressing only his sentence in its decision July 21, the majority decided that based on Carpenter’s criminal history and the fact he pleaded guilty to the habitual offender finding, his sentence should be reduced to 20 years.

The gun Carpenter had on him was unloaded and he never threatened anyone. While he is not a model citizen and has had numerous run-ins with the law, his crimes don’t justify the 40-year sentence, wrote Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard in Glenn Carpenter v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-1104-CR-198. The justices ordered his sentence be revised to 10 years on the Class B felony and 10 years for the habitual offender conviction.

Justice Brent Dickson dissented because Carpenter’s case was not an “exceptional or rare case justifying appellate intrusion” into a trial court’s sentence.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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