Trial court must properly exercise discretion on sentencing

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Although a trial court had the ability to deny a man credit for time served, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the lower court did not follow proper procedure when it granted actual days credit.

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the trial court’s attempt to give Peter Roberts day-for-day credit against his sentence in Peter A. Roberts v. State of Indiana, 10A05-1301-CR-35. It also affirmed the lower court’s decision not to award Roberts good-time credit for time served on pre-trial home detention.

After being convicted of battery, intimidation and criminal confinement, Roberts was sentenced to six years in the Indiana Department of Correction and granted 67 days for actual time served while incarcerated prior to trial.

Roberts immediately filed a motion to correct error. The trial court’s amended judgment of conviction and sentence granted Roberts “409 actual days credit against his sentence comprised of 97 days in jail and 305 days for credit granted for house arrest detention prior to trial.”

On appeal, Roberts argued the trial court erred by halving his credit for actual time served with the expectation that the DOC would award him good-time credit for each day, thus having the practical effect of giving him credit for 610 days rather than 611.

The Court of Appeals noted the trial court has the discretion to assign Roberts credit against his sentence for the 611 days he spent in home detention but the method the court used created two problems.

First, by only assigning Roberts credit for 305 actual days served, with the expectation that the DOC would double that number, the trial court’s decision had the practical effect of giving Roberts credit for 610 days, rather than 611 days. Second, in accordance with Robinson v. State, 805 N.E.2d 783,789-92 (Ind. 2004), if a trial court wishes to deny a defendant credit, it must put it in the sentencing judgment.

“To properly deny Roberts two-for-one credit time and instead give him credit only for the actual number of days spent on pre-trial home detention, the trial court should have granted him 611 days actually served against his sentence and expressly denied him any credit time under Ind. Code 35-50-6-3 for those days,” Judge Rudolph Pyle III wrote for the court. “Alternately, should the trial court wish to deny Roberts credit for any or all of the 611 days, it would be within its discretion to do so…but again it would need to report the denial in its sentencing judgment.”


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.