ILNews

Justices strike down partial consecutive sentences

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Indiana trial court judges do not have discretion to impose partial consecutive sentences, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

Bryant E. Wilson was convicted of Class A felony counts of rape and criminal deviate conduct and Class B felony armed robbery. Grant Circuit Judge Mark E. Spitzer sentenced Wilson to 45 years in prison on the A felony counts and 20 years on the B felony. He ordered five years of the 20-year sentence be served consecutively to the 45-year term, with the remaining 15 years served concurrently, for an aggregate 50-year sentence.

“Is this form of sentence permissible?” Justice Steven David wrote for the court in Bryant E. Wilson v. State of Indiana, 27S02-1309-CR-584. “Because trial courts are limited to sentences authorized by statute, and because the relevant provisions of the Indiana Code here do not authorize such a hybrid sentence, the answer must be 'no.'"

The Court of Appeals affirmed Wilson’s sentence in a split opinion. The majority of the COA panel held that such partial-consecutive sentences were permissible because statute did not prohibit them. Justices, however, sided with then-Chief Judge Margret Robb’s dissent in which she wrote courts may only impose sentences authorized by statute.

"Chief Judge Robb was correct when she said that “sentencing is a creature of the legislature and … we are limited to sentences that have been expressly permitted by the legislature,” David wrote. The panel wrote that allowing hybrid sentences would potentially create absurd and complicated results.

Justices remanded the matter for resentencing not to exceed the current aggregate 50-year term.

"There are a number of ways that Wilson’s aggregate sentence of fifty years can be effectuated by the trial court on remand, if it is merited. Imposing a partially consecutive sentence for one of the individual convictions is not one of them," David wrote.

 
 
 

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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