20-year sentence for $60 drug deal reduced as excessive

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The 20-year executed sentence a Kokomo man received after pleading guilty to selling an undercover police officer 10 hydrocodone pills for $6 each was excessive, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

The court remanded the case with instructions to enter a 12-year sentence with eight years executed at the Department of Correction in John Norris v. State of Indiana, 34A04-1410-CR-499.

While the panel noted Norris had several previous convictions for drug offenses and a few minor crimes, he hadn’t spent a lot of time at DOC and also had physical and mental health issues.

“But what convinces us that Norris’s sentence is inappropriate and excessive is the relatively innocuous nature of this offense,” Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote for the panel. “That is, Norris sold ten hydrocodone tablets for $60 to a confidential informant during a controlled buy that was closely monitored by the police. Given the small amount of drugs, we find that the maximum twenty-year executed sentence is inappropriate.”  

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