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Woman’s sentence revised because she is not among ‘worst offenders’

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A home health care nurse whose flight from police while high on drugs and with her 89-year-old patient in the car had her sentence reduced because the Court of Appeals concluded she is not among the “worst offenders.” The high-speed chase led to a crash and the death of the patient from injuries she sustained.

In Christina M. Kovats v. State of Indiana, 15A01-1205-CR-224, Christina Kovats raised double jeopardy concerns regarding her convictions of Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated and Class D felony criminal recklessness. She claimed the trial court shouldn’t have considered that N.C. died shortly after being injured in the wreck as an aggravating factor in sentencing.

Kovats stopped for gas while N.C. was in the car with her, but she left without paying. Police pursued her at high speeds, leading Kovats to crash the vehicle. N.C. suffered very severe injuries and died six weeks later. Kovats tested positive for having a high concentration of oxymorphone in her system after the accident.

The trial court merged the OWI and criminal recklessness convictions into the Class B felony neglect conviction but did not vacate those two judgments. Kovats was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The two Class D felonies were elevated based on the same serious bodily injury caused to N.C., so those convictions need to be vacated, the appellate judges concluded. The OWI conviction should be entered as the lesser-included offense of a Class A misdemeanor because that does not require proof of serious bodily injury.

The COA didn’t address Kovats’ claim that the trial court shouldn’t have considered N.C.’s death as an aggravating factor in sentencing because the judges decided the trial court should revise her sentence from 20 years to 15. Even though her crime was wholly unnecessary and senseless and fits within the classification of the worse offense, her character doesn’t lend to her being classified as a “worst offender” to justify the maximum sentence, the COA held.

She does have a criminal past, mostly tied to her drug addiction, and she has sought treatment for her addiction in jail. She also has four children, one of whom suffers from cystic fibrosis.

The case is remanded with instructions.

 

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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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