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Trial court has no authority to alter man’s conviction

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An Elkhart Superior judge was correct in determining that he couldn’t reduce a man’s Class D felony conviction to a Class A misdemeanor a year after the original judgment was made, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

When Bryan Fields was charged and convicted of Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated in 2010, the trial court stated that the conviction was entered conditionally subject to potential reduction to a misdemeanor provided certain criteria were met. When Fields petitioned a year later to have his conviction converted to the misdemeanor, Judge Charles Wicks determined he had no authority to do so based on State v. Brunner, 947 N.E.2d 411 (Ind. 2011).

The Court of Appeals agreed, pointing out Brunner held that Indiana Code 35-50-2-7(b) indicates that the Legislature intended to limit the trial court’s authority to reduce a Class D felony conviction to a Class A misdemeanor to the moment the trial court first enters its judgment of conviction and before it announces the sentence.

Fields improperly relied on I.C. 35-38-1-17 to support his argument because that statute only addresses the authority to reduce or suspend a sentence, not to convert a conviction, Judge Terry Crone wrote.

“While it may be equitable and desirable for the legislature to give a trial court discretion to modify a properly entered conviction like the conviction at issue here, at this time, the legislature has not given any such authority,” he wrote.

 

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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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