Savings clause of 2014 criminal code revision not unconstitutional

May 20, 2015

The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s claim that the savings clause of the 2014 criminal code revision violates the Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Indiana Constitution.

Michael Whittaker was charged in September 2013 with Class D felony theft and alleged to be a habitual offender. He pleaded guilty to the charges in September 2014 and was sentenced to an aggregate sentence of two years.

In Michael Whittaker v. State of Indiana, 84A01-1411-CR-506, he claimed that the savings clause improperly prohibits the ameliorative sentencing statutes of the new criminal code to apply to certain offenders, including himself. He argued the savings clause unconstitutionally created two classes of offenders: those who committed their offenses before the new criminal code went into effect July 1, 2014, but were sentenced after that date, and those who committed their offenses after the July 1 effective date.

Under the revised criminal code, Whittaker could face a lesser sentence for theft.

“Whittaker, in an act of free will, selected his offense date as August 31, 2013, thereby choosing to commit theft as a Class D felony subject to a sentence of six months to three years. By doing so, he differentiated himself from those offenders who committed the offense of theft after July 1, 2014. Thus, we find that Whittaker is not similarly situated to those defendants who committed offenses after July 1, 2014, and, therefore, he has no viable equal privileges and immunities claim,” Senior Judge Carr Darden wrote.



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