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Nonsupport of dependent enhancement not based on number of children

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The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that under Indiana Code 35-46-1-5(a), the enhancement of nonsupport of a dependent child to a Class C felony because of an arrearage of $15,000 or more is triggered by the dollar amount owed, regardless of how many children the parent has.

The state had charged Amir Sanjari with two counts of Class D felony nonsupport of a dependent and two counts as Class C felonies because he owed more than $15,000 in child support for his two children. He was convicted on all counts but only sentenced on the Class C felonies. Sanjari believed the two Class C felony convictions should have “merged” into one under Indiana double jeopardy jurisprudence.

The Court of Appeals vacated one of his Class C felony convictions but affirmed in all other respects.

In Amir H. Sanjari v. State of Indiana, No. 20S03-1105-CR-268, Justice Brent Dickson analyzed the statute at issue and held that I.C. 35-46-1-5 allows for separate Class D felony convictions of nonsupport of a dependent child, but only one such offense may be enhanced to a Class C felony where the unpaid support for one or more children is $15,000 or more. The state argued that the statute allows for the enhancement for every $15,000 in nonsupport arrears, so if a parent with four children owed $60,000, he or she could be punished for four Class C felonies.

The same $15,000 was used to enhance both of Sanjari’s convictions, so the justices vacated the four convictions and ordered that he be convicted of and sentenced for one count of Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent for one child and Class D felony nonsupport with regards to the other child.

“For future clarification, however, we do not consider the attribution of separate $15,000 portions of the aggregate arrearage to separate dependent children a proper basis for seeking separate class C felony convictions as to each child. Such a technique might avoid the statutory construction rule of Richardson and Spivey proscribing multiple punishments for the same behavior or harm,” Dickson wrote. “But this prosecutorial maneuver would not satisfy the statutory basis for a class C felony nonsupport conviction, which requires that the aggregate, the ‘total’ amount, of unpaid support for all of the defendant's dependent children, whether one or more, equal or exceed $15,000.”

 

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  • "How to Enforce a Lazy County to do Their Job"
    I do beleive that I have tried it all. All that I know that it, in effort to get the county Paternity was established to enforce my son's father to pay child support. At one time, and this was the most effective approch, the court started ordering drop dead orders. Every 6-8 weeks he would have to appear on a set date just to show receipt of payment... far-fetched, depends.. How immature the person is. In this particular case maturity doesn't not exist, but mommmy does. I alwasy had this weird, crazy idea that the child support division was suposed to enforce the non-custodial parent to pay their court ordered child support. To my disbelief, not in this county. When asking why they don't enforce this, I get two answers; he has a review hearing set for, and we have 60 some thousand cases and a limited staff. This individual owes over 11,000.00 in arrears and still doesn't pay. Th reason I do not know the exact amount is because when I asked for the exact amount to be calculated, I was told they don't do that at every hearing. I have filed contempt's, used an attorney, another good, yet costly approach. Recently I filed another contempt, along with reason of why attached, very deatiled using Indiana IC codes. What do i get, a copy of one of the five original copies I sent. No hearing set, no notification,nothing. Then He's filing for custody of my son who he has not seen in three years due continued domestic battery on his wife and blames me. So much inaccuracy in what I received from this inaccuracy in this motion submitted to the court that I have valid proof of it. So my question.. What is my next step? I've contacted the state and filled out paperwork through the title IV-D services. nothing works. I need an order set that he has to much the court ordered child support by the last day of the moth, and if he fails, they have a work release center, bet he starts paying then. I an in the wonderful state of Indiana, however I do no live in that dreadful county anymore and haven't for years. Additionally, I am told that I cannot transfer this case because he still lives in that county. Comments and Suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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