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Supreme Court rules on habitual-offender filing issue

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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.

 

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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