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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. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  2. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

  3. So this firebrand GOP Gov was set free by a "unanimous Supreme Court" , a court which is divided, even bitterly, on every culture war issue. WHAT A RESOUNDING SLAP in the Virginia Court's face! How bad must it have been. And all the journalists, lap dogs of the status quo they are, can do is howl that others cannot be railroaded like McDonald now??? Cannot reflect upon the ruining of Winston and Julia's life and love? (Oh I forget, the fiction at this Ministry of Truth is that courts can never err, and when they do, and do greatly, as here, why then it must be ignored, since it does not compute.)

  4. My daughter is a addict and my grandson was taken by DCS and while in hospital for overdose my daughter was told to sign papers from DCS giving up her parental rights of my grandson to the biological father's mom and step-dad. These people are not the best to care for him and I was never called or even given the chance to take him, but my daughter had given me guardianship but we never went to court to finalize the papers. Please I have lost my daughter and I dont want to lose my grandson as well. I hope and look forward to speaking with you God Bless and Thank You for all of your help

  5. To Bob- Goooooood, I'm glad you feel that way! He's alive and happy and thriving and out and I'm his woman and we live in West Palm Beach Florida, where his parents have a sprawling estate on an exclusive golf course......scum bag

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