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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. Such things are no more elections than those in the late, unlamented Soviet Union.

  2. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  3. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  4. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  5. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

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