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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. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  2. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  3. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  4. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  5. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

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