ILNews

Prosecutor’s lack of objection allows judge to modify sentence

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

In a case where a woman sought modification of her sentence more than a year after it was imposed, the Indiana Supreme Court found that the prosecutor’s conduct satisfied the “approval” requirement of Indiana Code 35-38-1-17(b).

Tammy Sue Harper was sentenced Sept. 19, 2011; she filed her motion for sentence modification Dec. 5, 2012. The trial court at a hearing acknowledged it lacked authority under the statute to modify the sentence but Tippecanoe Circuit Judge Donald Daniel indicated his desire to do so unless the prosecutor’s office objected to the modification and planned to appeal. The deputy prosecutor told the judge he would discuss the matter with the prosecutor’s office, but five weeks had passed and the prosecutor’s office never objected to the modification that would release Harper from the Department of Correction and have her serve the rest of her sentence on probation.

Daniel granted Harper’s motion, leading to this appeal. The Court of Appeals reversed, but the justices affirmed the modification.

The statute in effect at the time of Harper’s offense provided that after 365 days have elapsed, any modification by the trial court is subject to the approval of the prosecuting attorney.

The deputy prosecutor participated in the hearing on the sentence modification request and was aware the trial court wanted to grant the modification unless the prosecutor objected. But the prosecutor never objected or notified the court it planned on appealing if the judge granted the modification.  

“… we conclude that in the context of the facts of this case, the prosecutor’s conduct and communications adequately conveyed the ‘approval of the prosecuting attorney’ required in Indiana Code section 35-38-1-17(b), and that the trial court did not err in proceeding to grant the defendant’s motion for sentence modification,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote for the unanimous court in State of Indiana v. Tammy Sue Harper, 79S02-1405-CR-334.  

 

ADVERTISEMENT

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
2015 Distinguished Barrister &
Up and Coming Lawyer Reception

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 • 4:30 - 7:00 pm
Learn More


ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. why is the State trying to play GOD? Automatic sealing of a record is immoral. People should have the right to decide how to handle a record. the state is playing GOD. I have searched for decades, then you want me to pay someone a huge price to contact my son. THIS is extortion and gestapo control. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW.

  2. I haven't made some of the best choices in the last two years I have been to marion county jail 1 and two on three different occasions each time of release dates I've spent 48 to 72 hours after date of release losing a job being denied my freedom after ordered please help

  3. Out here in Kansas, where I now work as a government attorney, we are nearing the end of a process that could have relevance in this matter: "Senate Bill 45 would allow any adult otherwise able to possess a handgun under state and federal laws to carry that gun concealed as a matter of course without a permit. This move, commonly called constitutional carry, would elevate the state to the same club that Vermont, Arizona, Alaska and Wyoming have joined in the past generation." More reading here: http://www.guns.com/2015/03/18/kansas-house-panel-goes-all-in-on-constitutional-carry-measure/ Time to man up, Hoosiers. (And I do not mean that in a sexist way.)

  4. This is why it is important to consider Long term care insurance. For you and for your loved ones

  5. I am terrified to see Fracking going on not only in Indiana but in Knox county. Water is the most important resource we have any where. It will be the new gold, and we can't live without it and we can live without gold. How ignorant are people?

ADVERTISEMENT