COA: Lack of release advisement was harmless error

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a trial court’s failure to advise a man of his possible release dates was harmless error and affirmed his sentence for two felonies.

David Simons pleaded guilty to Level 2 felony burglary while armed and Level 5 felony intimidation. He received an aggregate sentence of 29 years with nine suspended to probation but argued since the trial court did not inform him of his earliest and maximum release dates the case should be remanded.

The state has acknowledged the error but said Simons did not identify any prejudice from it. The COA in a decision written by Judge Rudolph Pyle agreed.

“Simons has not alleged that he was prejudiced or harmed by the trial court’s failure to advise him of his earliest release date and maximum possible release date. Although the trial court did not make the advisement as set forth in Indiana Code 35-38-1-1 (b), such failure was harmless error,” Pyle wrote.

However, Pyle wrote that trial courts should be careful about this and make sure advisements of sentences are given, because another case may have gone differently.

“Each case is different, and the facts of another case might not lead to the same harmless error result,” Pyle wrote.

The case is David Simons v. State of Indiana, 20A03-1512-CR-2158.

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