Dissenting COA judge seeks to double molester’s sentence

October 19, 2016

A dissenting Indiana Court of Appeals judge Wednesday said he would use the court’s authority to double the sentence of a man ordered to serve four years in the Indiana Department of Correction for his conviction of two counts of Class C child molesting.

Judge Cale Bradford wrote that Edward A. Holt Jr. was charged with sex crimes against a 5-year-old boy and his 6-year-old sister that carried a possible maximum sentence of 116 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to two counts of Class C felony child molesting. Each count carried a maximum 8-year sentence, but a condition of the plea deal agreed the sentences would be concurrent.

Bradford wrote that Holt’s character called for a tougher sentence, noting he had violated a protective order barring his contact with the children, and he had a history of significant delinquent sex offenses against children.

“On appeal, the State has asked that the sentence be increased. I consider this request to be a suggestion, not a limitation on our power to review the appropriateness of the sentence,” Bradford wrote in dissent in Edward A. Holt, Jr. v. State of Indiana, 40A04-1601-CR-192. “Consequently, due to the age of the victims and the nature of his offenses, I see no basis for leniency. I would therefore invoke this court’s authority to revise Holt’s sentence upward to eight years for each conviction. Due to the requirements of the plea agreement, these sentences would be run concurrently.”

But Holt’s sentence of four years will remain, the majority held, citing Akard v. State, 937 N.E.2d 811 (Ind. 2010). In that case, the state sought to raise a defendant’s sentence from 93 to 118 years in prison despite a prosecutor’s agreement that requested a sentence no greater than 93 years. “The supreme court concluded that both of those factors were ‘strong indicators that the trial court[‘s] sentence [was] not inappropriately lenient.’

“Analogously to Akard, the State here agreed not to make a sentencing recommendation at sentencing, thereby implicitly indicating that it would agree with the trial court’s sentencing determination. As a result, we will not increase the sentence imposed in this case,” Judge Rudolph R. Pyle III wrote for the majority joined by Judge Robert Altice.

The court also rejected Holt’s request to reduce his sentence.  



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