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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. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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