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Pro se defendant wins reversal of restitution order

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A defendant ordered to repay more than $19,000 that a drug task force spent to investigate his methamphetamine manufacturing will not have to make restitution because the state isn’t a victim under the restitution statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

In Jim A. Edsall v. State of Indiana, 57A03-1205-CR-240, Jim Edsall appealed the imposition of six 30-year concurrent sentences of imprisonment in the Department of Correction following his guilty plea to five counts of Class A felony delivery of meth and one count of Class A felony conspiracy to manufacture meth and a restitution order. The charges stemmed from an undercover drug operation that infiltrated Edsall’s manufacturing operation.

Edsall’s guilty plea did not make any reference to restitution, nor was there any reference of it at the guilty plea hearing. At a later sentencing hearing, the state sought $19,581.40 to recover costs of the investigation. Edsall’s counsel didn’t expressly object to the restitution being sought at any point. The trial court imposed the restitution order and the concurrent 30 year-sentences.

The Court of Appeals rejected Edsall’s arguments that the trial court abused its discretion by considering improper aggravating circumstances and failing to consider mitigating ones, and that his sentence was inappropriate based on his character and the nature of the offense and should be revised to 15 years.

But the judges agreed with Edsall that the trial court erred in ordering him to pay restitution. Citing Green v. State, 811 N.E.2d 874, 877 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004), they held that the state is not a victim as contemplated by the restitution statute, Ind. Code 35-50-5-3, so the restitution order wasn’t proper.

 

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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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