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Resisting law enforcement conviction reduced due to double jeopardy violation

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A post-conviction court “clearly erred” when it found a man’s trial attorney did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. The judges ordered the court to reduce Timmy Zieman’s Class C felony resisting law enforcement conviction to a Class D felony because of a violation of double jeopardy principles.

Zieman fled from police after an argument with his wife and crashed his car into Crown Point Sergeant John Allendorf Jr.’s car, which caused the officer serious bodily injury. Zieman was charged with several counts as a result of the incident, including attempted murder and Class C felony resisting law enforcement resulting in serious bodily injury. He was found guilty but mentally ill.

In his petition for post-conviction relief, Zieman argued his trial and appellate counsel were ineffective because neither challenged his attempted murder conviction and the serious bodily injury element that elevated his resisting law enforcement conviction on double jeopardy grounds. The PCR court denied his petition.

In Timmy T. Zieman v. State of Indiana, 45A03-1301-PC-1, the judges found that the statutory elements test or actual evidence test under Richardson v. State, 717 N.E.2d 32, 49-50 (Ind. 1999), weren’t violated in Zieman’s case. The COA also used common law not governed by the constitutional test set forth in Richardson to evaluate Zieman’s claim. These rules were first enumerated by Justice Frank Sullivan in his concurring opinion in Richardson, one of which prohibits conviction and punishment for an enhancement of a crime where the enhancement is imposed for the same behavior or harm as another crime for which the defendant has been convicted and punished.

“Based on the prosecutor’s arguments to the jury and the lack of specificity in the charging information and jury instructions, we conclude that there is a reasonable possibility that the jury used the evidence of Zieman crashing his vehicle into Sergeant Allendorf’s vehicle and injuring him to establish both the substantial step element of attempted murder and the resulting serious bodily injury element of class C felony resisting law enforcement, resulting in a violation of double jeopardy principles,” Judge Terry Crone wrote.

The appellate court ordered that the Class C felony resisting law enforcement conviction be reduced to a Class D felony and that the sentence imposed is the advisory 18 months. It will be served consecutively to Zieman’s attempted murder sentence, for a total executed sentence of 33 ½ years.

 

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