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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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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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