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Split COA reverses its original decision on rehearing

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Saying “plea agreements should be more artfully drafted,” a split Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an award of restitution against a Daviess County man whose plea agreement was silent on the matter of restitution.

The Court of Appeals issued its opinion granting rehearing on the issue of restitution only in Adam Morris v. State of Indiana, 14A05-1209-CR-495.
 
Morris pled guilty to a Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated after his fiancée was thrown and killed from the ATV he was driving. The trial court then ordered Morris to pay nearly $15,000 toward burial expenses.

However, the Court of Appeals ruled in Morris v. State, 985 N.E. 2d 364 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013) that the trial court lacked the authority to order Morris to pay because the plea agreement did not contain any language about restitution.

On rehearing, the Court of Appeals followed Huddleston v. State, 764 N.E. 2d 655 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002) and Gil v. State, 988 N.E. 2d 1231 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013) and determined Morris’s plea was entirely open which gave the trial court discretion to order restitution.

“Despite our grant of rehearing and ultimate affirmance of the restitution award, we still wish to emphasize that plea agreements ideally should be more artfully drafted in cases such as this if the State wishes to seek restitution,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote for the majority.

Judge John Baker dissented. He noted the trial court’s order of restitution pertained to the charge -operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol equivalent of .08 or more causing death, a Class C felony - was dismissed under the plea agreement. He asserted the Court of Appeals’ original ruling was correct and voted to deny the state’s petition for rehearing.

He did agree with the majority’s call that plea agreements should be more artfully drafted.

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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