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Thief who aimed to teach victim ‘lesson’ gets no relief on appeal

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An Indianapolis man who said he stole a video monitoring system and car wash tickets to teach the victim a lesson about leaving valuables in an unlocked car lost his appeal Friday.

Hiawathia Hunt was sentenced to 545 days in prison, with approximately half of that as time executed, after he was convicted of theft for stealing the items from the owner of a spa and salon where Hunt leased space and worked. Hunt later returned the surveillance system, but not the car wash tickets for which the spa owner paid more than $400 to sell as a fundraiser for her son’s Little League team.

“According to Hunt, he saw that the door was open on (the victim’s) parked car and took the items in order to teach (her) a ‘lesson,’” Judge Paul Mathias wrote in the unanimous seven-page Court of Appeals decision, Hiawathia Hunt v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1207-CR-371.

The court ruled that a judge’s offer to trim time off Hunt’s sentence in exchange for restitution did not constitute a conditional sentence deemed impermissible in Saddler v. State, 953 N.E.2d 1220 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011).

After a bench trial in Marion Superior Court, Judge Reuben Hill chastised Hunt and disregarded his apology and expression of remorse to the victim. Hill said Hunt had acted with malice because he had not returned the tickets or paid for them.

At sentencing, Hill told Hunt that the victim “needs her $400 back. You pay that $400 and I will reconsider how much time you have to serve in prison.”

“In the present case, Hunt claims that his sentence was also conditional. We disagree and find the present case distinguishable from Saddler,” Mathias wrote. “In that case, the trial court gave the defendant repeated opportunities to pay restitution and explicitly stated that if she did not pay restitution, then she was going to serve time in jail.

“The trial court simply explained to Hunt that modification of his sentence was possible if he paid restitution to the victim; it did not make Hunt’s sentence conditional on the payment of restitution. Because Hunt’s sentence was not conditional, and because Hunt alleges no further error in his sentence, we affirm.”



 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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