Man’s 17½-year sentence upheld for dealing meth

A sentence of 17½ years for a man convicted of dealing methamphetamine has been upheld, after the Indiana Court of Appeals found he was dealing in amounts “well above the statutory requirement.”

Robin Shinkle, who police knew was involved in dealing meth, engaged in six controlled buys by Lawrenceburg police officers over a span of three months. When officers initiated a traffic stop of Shinkle’s vehicle, a police K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics from outside the vehicle.

Inside, police found more than 20 grams of meth, which Shinkle later admitted was his. Shinkle ultimately pleaded guilty to Level 2 felony dealing in methamphetamine and received an advisory sentence of 17½ years, with the last three years suspended to probation. The final two years before his probation were ordered to be served as in-home incarceration.

Shinkle argued his sentence was inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character, but the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in Robin R. Shinkle v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-410. The panel first addressed his argument that Indiana Supreme Court precedent in Hoak v. State, 113 N.E.3d 1209 (Ind. 2019) required a remand for the trial court to determine whether Shinkle was eligible for placement in a substance abuse treatment program in lieu of placement in the Indiana Department of Correction.

“We are not persuaded by Shinkle’s attempt to analogize his circumstances to those in Hoak for at least two reasons. First, Shinkle pleaded guilty to dealing, not possession. As the trial court here stated during sentencing, Shinkle’s Level 2 felony dealing offense demonstrates that his ‘culpability … is high,’” Judge Edward W. Najam, Jr. wrote for the panel.

“Second, the distinctions between Shinkle’s conviction for dealing and Hoak’s convictions for possession aside, the trial court here already considered, consistent with our Supreme Court’s holding in Hoak, whether Shinkle was eligible for substance abuse treatment programs,” Najam wrote. “The trial court expressly found that, because Shinkle had knowingly dealt methamphetamine to a participant in the local drug court, it would be inappropriate to place Shinkle in that program.”

The panel further found his sentence was not inappropriate based on the nature of the offenses, which demonstrated Shinkle was dealing in amounts of meth “well above the statutory requirement” and that the issue was not “a one-time event.”

“Further, Shinkle knowingly dealt methamphetamine to at least one participant in the local drug court program. And Shinkle’s extensive criminal history, as detailed by the trial court and which extends beyond drug offenses, reflects poorly on his character,” the panel concluded. “Thus, we cannot say that Shinkle’s sentence is inappropriate under Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B), and we affirm Shinkle’s sentence.”

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