Double jeopardy lifts 2 of burglar’s multiple convictions

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A man who repeatedly broke into property and stole tools and items being used to renovate a long-vacant farmhouse likely will remain sentenced to 50 years in prison, even though the Indiana Court of Appeals vacated two of his convictions as violations of the prohibition against double jeopardy.

In Shane L. Keller v. State of Indiana, 88A04-1404-CR-168, the appeals panel ruled that two convictions for Class D felony receiving stolen property were based on the same factual elements that formed the basis for the convictions on Class D felony theft charges. The panel remanded with instructions to vacate the receiving stolen property convictions.

Keller also was convicted of two counts of Class B felony burglary, one count of Class C felony burglary, three counts of Class D felony theft, and he was adjudicated a habitual offender. He was sentenced to maximum penalties on each of the eight convictions to run concurrently, for an aggregate 20 years executed. The trial court imposed a 30-year enhancement to the Class B felony burglary conviction, for a total executed sentence of 50 years. Vacating the two receiving convictions therefore is not likely to reduce the sentence.

Writing for the panel, Judge James Kirsch closed the opinion with a footnote explaining the panel had not reached Keller’s argument that the sentence was inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

“Because this issue could be raised on a subsequent appeal, we remind Keller that an extensive criminal history is a significant factor in our evaluation of the character of the offender when reviewing whether a sentence is inappropriate,” Kirsch wrote.


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