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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. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  2. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

  3. So this firebrand GOP Gov was set free by a "unanimous Supreme Court" , a court which is divided, even bitterly, on every culture war issue. WHAT A RESOUNDING SLAP in the Virginia Court's face! How bad must it have been. And all the journalists, lap dogs of the status quo they are, can do is howl that others cannot be railroaded like McDonald now??? Cannot reflect upon the ruining of Winston and Julia's life and love? (Oh I forget, the fiction at this Ministry of Truth is that courts can never err, and when they do, and do greatly, as here, why then it must be ignored, since it does not compute.)

  4. My daughter is a addict and my grandson was taken by DCS and while in hospital for overdose my daughter was told to sign papers from DCS giving up her parental rights of my grandson to the biological father's mom and step-dad. These people are not the best to care for him and I was never called or even given the chance to take him, but my daughter had given me guardianship but we never went to court to finalize the papers. Please I have lost my daughter and I dont want to lose my grandson as well. I hope and look forward to speaking with you God Bless and Thank You for all of your help

  5. To Bob- Goooooood, I'm glad you feel that way! He's alive and happy and thriving and out and I'm his woman and we live in West Palm Beach Florida, where his parents have a sprawling estate on an exclusive golf course......scum bag

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