COA orders return of bond balance

The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a Fayette Circuit Court decision to hold the balance of a man’s bond in trust after finding that Indiana law prohibits courts from holding bonds in trust for public defender fees not yet incurred.

Emmett Sandoval’s grandfather posted his $2,000 bond after he was charged with Level 5 felony sexual misconduct with a minor. Sandoval pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years imprisonment, with two years suspended to probation. At the sentencing hearing the Fayette Circuit Court ordered that court costs and probation user fees be deduced from his bond, leaving a balance of $1,717.

The judge then ordered the balance to be placed in trust for future appellate public defender fees, but on appeal, Judge John Baker held that under Hendrix v. State, 615 N.E.2d 483, 485 (Ind. Ct. App. 1993), courts may not hold a defendant’s bond in trust for public defender fees not yet incurred. Thus, the appellate court ordered the balance of Sandoval’s bond be returned immediately.

The case is Emmett Reece Sandoval v. State of Indiana, 21A01-1609-CR-2027.

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