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Justices: sentence shouldn't have been upped on appeal

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The Indiana Supreme Court has ordered that a man’s sentence be reduced after the lower appellate court increased it on appeal.

The justices summarily affirmed the Indiana Court of Appeals ruling affirming the admission of pornographic materials and the admission of evidence of Jeffrey Akard’s silence after his arrest but before being read his rights.

Akard was convicted of two counts of Class A felony rape, one count of Class B felony rape, two counts of Class A felony criminal deviate conduct, one count of Class B felony criminal deviate conduct, two counts of Class B felony criminal confinement, and two counts of Class C felony battery for committing a series of violent sexual crimes against an adult woman over several hours.

The trial court sentenced him to an aggregate term of 93 years, accepting the state’s recommended sentence. The trial court ordered the sentences for each count within the group of like offenses to be served concurrently but served consecutively to each of the other groups.

On appeal before the Court of Appeals, the judges decided to increase his sentence because of the heinous, violent acts he committed against the victim. They upheld their decision on rehearing. It was noted at oral arguments before the Indiana Supreme Court on this case that the increase was the first time the Court of Appeals has increased a sentence on appeal. The justices established a standard for sentence revisions in McCullough v. State, 900 N.E.2d 745, 746 (Ind. 2009).

Even though an appellate court has the ability to affirm, reduce or increase a sentence on appeal, the justices concluded that Akard’s original sentence should remain, with one minor change. His sentence on the battery charges should have been two years each, instead of one year, so correcting this increases Akard’s aggregate sentence to 94 years.

“Although the defendant's raising of sentence reasonableness on appeal authorizes appellate consideration of whether the assigned sentence is inappropriately stern or lenient, we decline to increase the sentence here, particularly in the context of the State's request for no greater sentence at trial and its assertion on appeal that such is an appropriate sentence. These are strong indicators that the trial court sentence is not inappropriately lenient,” wrote Justice Brent Dickson in Jeffrey E. Akard v. State of Indiana, No. 79S02-1009-CR-478.  

The case was remanded for sentence modification.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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