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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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