ILNews

Supreme Court rules on habitual-offender filing issue

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Supreme Court has found that a man convicted of helping to rob a restaurant did not preserve the issue of whether the trial court properly determined he was a habitual offender that could receive an enhanced sentence.

In Jerrell D. White v. State, No. 15S01-1109-CR-545, the Supreme Court affirmed and reversed in part a decision about the state’s “tardy” habitual-offender filing in this robbery case.

Jerrell D. White waited in a car while his friend took cash from a restaurant register. White drove away and police arrested him two days later, charging him with Class C felony robbery, Class D felony theft, and Class D felony receiving stolen property. Before trial, the court allowed a late habitual-offender charge based on two out-of-state convictions for offenses White committed when he was 15 years old.

At trial, White represented himself with stand-by assistance from a public defender and the jury ultimately found him not guilty of robbery but guilty of theft and receiving stolen property. The jury determined he was a habitual offender, and the trial court sentenced him to three years on each conviction to be served concurrently. The judge also enhanced the sentence by 4.5 years because of his status as a habitual offender.

The Court of Appeals agreed with White’s double jeopardy argument and ordered the trial court to vacate the conviction of and sentence for receiving stolen property. The judges also agreed the evidence was insufficient to support the habitual-offender finding and ordered that it be vacated.

But four justices disagreed in part with the intermediate appellate panel. Justice Frank Sullivan dissented and wrote that he believed the Court of Appeals was correct in its decision.

Examining conflicting precedent on this issue during the past 25 years, the Supreme Court majority determined that the state didn’t articulate any grounds for good cause in requesting the belated habitual-offender charge and the trial court never explored that issue. However, White didn’t object, respond to the state’s filing, request a continuance or argue at trial that the state couldn’t file the tardy habitual-offender charge, so he didn’t preserve that argument, Justice Steven David wrote.

On the evidence sufficiency aspect, the justices disagreed with the Court of Appeals judges who determined additional evidence was required to prove White was tried and convicted in adult court in other states. David wrote that the jury determined the prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that White had two unrelated adult felony convictions, and that is sufficient.

The majority summarily affirmed the COA on the remaining issues and remanded with instructions to vacate the receiving stolen property conviction and sentence imposed thereon.

 

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
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

ADVERTISEMENT