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Woman’s convictions are crimes of violence, justifying sentence

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The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the state Thursday that a woman’s Class D felony drunken-driving convictions are considered “crimes of violence” under Indiana law, so there was no error when the trial court imposed a seven-year consecutive sentence.

Wendy Thompson was drinking alcohol while driving along U.S. Highway 36 in Parke County when she rear-ended Tina Redman’s car, causing it to hit a Jeep Cherokee driving in the opposite direction. Redman had slowed down for an Amish wagon. The accident resulted in serious injuries to Redman, her daughter, and the two passengers in the Cherokee.

Thompson’s BAC was 0.25 and she also tested positive for benzodiazepines, for which she had a valid prescription. But the drug intensifies the effects of alcohol.

The state charged her with eight counts, but Thompson pleaded guilty to four Class D felony operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration of at least 0.08 causing serious bodily injury. She was sentenced to three years each for Counts I and II and 180 days each for Counts III and IV. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively, for a total of seven years, with two years suspended to probation.

Thompson argued before the trial court and again on appeal that she couldn’t be sentenced to consecutive sentences longer than four years based on I.C. 35-50-1-2(c). This section says the total consecutive terms of imprisonment shall not exceed the advisory sentence for a felony one class higher than the most serious of the felonies for which a person has been convicted.

In Thompson’s case, this would be the advisory sentence of four years for a Class C felony. She would be correct as long as her crime is not considered a “crime of violence,” the appellate court held, finding her Class D felonies to qualify under this distinction. Thus, the maximum-sentence restriction does not apply.

The judges relied on the statutory citation next to the text of the offense under subdivision 15, “Operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury to another person (IC 9-30-5-4).” They believed the citation to the statute is evidence that the Legislature intended to include both crimes within the definition of a “crime of violence.”

The COA also upheld her sentence, noting the significant injuries the vehicle occupants suffered – and continue to deal with today – as well as Thompson’s inability to admit the extent of her problems with alcohol.

The case is Wendy Thompson v. State of Indiana, 61A01-1305-CR-207.


 

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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