ILNews

Sentence in murder-for-hire plot cut

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The Indiana Supreme Court has slashed a sentence for an Anderson man convicted last year in a murder-for-hire plot of his wife and mother-in-law.

Justices unanimously granted transfer and issued a five-page opinion Wednesday afternoon in Aaron Reid v. State of Indiana, 48S04-0711-CR-552, a case from Madison County that was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in a not-for-publication opinion in May.

Last year, Madison Superior Judge Thomas Newman gave Reid a maximum 50-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. The case began when Reid was incarcerated in county jail in early 2006, and he had hatched a plot with a fellow inmate to have his wife of less than a year and his mother-in-law killed. That inmate, however, was a police informant who contacted an undercover officer about the plot. After his conviction, Reid argued his sentence was inappropriate and the appellate court affirmed the lower court's decision, calling the crime "particularly heinous" because of his lengthy criminal record and how his daughter, less than 2 at the time, would have been left without a mother and grandmother.

Citing a variety of circumstances, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard wrote for the court that Reid is hardly the worst offender deserving a maximum sentence. Instead, the court cut the prison term by 20 years, revising it to the advisory 30-year sentence.

The state's high court doesn't say Judge Newman erred; rather it simply states that the reduced sentence would be "more appropriate."

A large part of the rationale in the decision was Reid's mental health history, which included attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, borderline intellectual disorder, bi-polar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. That made him an easy target by a police informant who had a history of dishonesty, the court wrote. But since the victims also requested leniency, Reid should not be considered one of the worst types of offenders, Chief Justice Shepard wrote.

"Given that no one was injured, both potential victims pleaded for leniency, and Reid had a history of mental health problems, it is inappropriate to order twenty-two year old Reid to serve fifty years," the opinion states.
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  1. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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  4. If our State Government would sue for their rights to grow HEMP like Kentucky did we would not have these issues. AND for your INFORMATION many medical items are also made from HEMP. FOOD, FUEL,FIBER,TEXTILES and MEDICINE are all uses for this plant. South Bend was built on Hemp. Our states antiquated fear of cannabis is embarrassing on the world stage. We really need to lead the way rather than follow. Some day.. we will have freedom in Indiana. And I for one will continue to educate the good folks of this state to the beauty and wonder of this magnificent plant.

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