In third appeal of burglary case, COA rules released defendant can’t be resentenced

Taking his case to the Indiana Court of Appeals for a third time, a man who served his sentence for burglary convictions and was released will not return to prison after the appellate court determined the trial court lacked authority to order the man’s resentencing.

In Anthony Wampler v. State of Indiana, 20A-PC-2043, Anthony Wampler was convicted in 2015 of two counts of felony burglary. He was adjudicated as a habitual offender and received an aggregate 33-year sentence, which the Indiana Court of Appeals first affirmed in 2016. However, on transfer, the Indiana Supreme Court determined Wampler’s sentence was inappropriate and reduced his term to an aggregate 16 years.

Wampler then filed for post-conviction relief, arguing in a 2020 amendment to his petition that his habitual offender adjudication and sentence should be vacated because the COA earlier that year had vacated one of the convictions that supported his adjudication. The Daviess Superior Court granted his motion and concluded that, without the habitual offender enhancement, his sentence for the burglary convictions would have been complete in July 2017. Thus, Wampler was released.

But on the same day as the trial court’s ruling, the state moved to resentence Wampler on one of the burglary convictions. The trial court granted the state’s motion, and Wampler filed an interlocutory appealed.

The Court of Appeals, addressing Wampler’s case for the third time on Wednesday, reversed in his favor.

“Wampler argues that the trial court erred in granting the State’s motion to resentence him because the Indiana Supreme Court had ordered a specific six-year sentence for each burglary conviction upon remand of Wampler’s direct appeal. However, we need not address Wampler’s argument because the trial court erred in granting the State’s motion to resentence Wampler for another reason,” Judge Rudolph Pyle wrote.

“Because Wampler has served his sentence for the burglary convictions and has been released from the Department of Correction, the trial court had no authority to resentence him,” Pyle wrote. “… There is no statute authorizing trial courts to resentence a defendant who has served his sentence and been released from the DOC.

“In addition, it would be manifestly unfair for the trial court to call Wampler back into court and potentially resentence him to additional time for the burglary conviction when he had already served his sentence for that conviction and been released from the DOC. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s order granting the State’s motion to resentence Wampler.”

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