Double jeopardy cuts sentence in robbery from 60 to 36 years

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A trial court improperly applied sentencing enhancements to both of a criminal defendant’s robbery and conspiracy convictions, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The panel found a double-jeopardy violation and reduced the man’s sentence from 60 to 36 years in prison.

Brandon Black received the 60-year aggregate sentence after he was convicted of Level 2 felony conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury and Level 2 felony robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.

Black joined Christopher Brown in a scheme to rob Logansport hotel worker Sanjay Amin, who had agreed to pay Ashley Reinholt, an acquaintance of the two men, for sex. Black’s convictions were each enhanced at sentencing by the aggravating factor that he had knocked out three of Amin’s teeth during the robbery. Black argued this was double jeopardy.

“We agree, and we remedy the violation by reducing Black’s robbery conviction to a Level 5 felony,” Judge John Baker wrote for the court. Imposing the maximum sentence at that level reduces Black’s sentence on the robbery conviction from 30 years to 6 years, served consecutively to the 30-year sentence on the conspiracy conviction.

The court also ruled that any errors in the trial court’s failure to ensure legal representation for Black during a critical stage of proceedings was not prejudicial, and any error in admitting into evidence the victim’s identification of Black was harmless.

The case is Brandon Black v. State of Indiana,09A04-1610-CR-2312.



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