Amendment to new criminal code foils attempt for sentence modification

A Vanderburgh County man hoping to benefit from Indiana’s overhaul of its criminal codes was instead reminded to read state statutes very carefully.

Shawn Jaco was convicted and sentenced to 14 years for aggravated battery as a Class B felony and criminal confinement as a Class C felony in November 2011. Several months after the state’s new criminal code became effective July 1, 2014, he filed a motion to modify his sentence, claiming he had been fully rehabilitated.

Before the Court of Appeals, Jaco pointed to Indiana Code 35-38-1-17, which had been amended as part of the overhaul so that courts do not need the approval of the prosecuting attorney to reduce or suspend a sentence of a convicted person.

The COA affirmed the denial of Jaco’s motion in Shawn Jaco v. State of Indiana, 82A01-1506-CR-817.

In particular, the appellate court pointed out I.C. 35-38-1-17 had been amended again effective May 5, 2015. Under that provision, a violent criminal (which is defined to include a person convicted of aggravated battery) may not file a petition for sentence modification without the consent of the prosecuting attorney.


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