ILNews

Nonsupport of dependent enhancement not based on number of children

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.”

 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • "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!

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

ADVERTISEMENT