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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court posts one today

Maurice Smith v. State of Indiana (4/20/05 IndSCt) [Criminal Law & Procedure]
Sullivan, Justice

Defendant Maurice K. Smith’s sentence in this case was increased by 10 years because the trial court found him to be a “repeat sexual offender.” He contends that the Indiana and United States Constitutions require a jury determination of repeat sexual offender status before such an enhancement may be imposed. We affirm the trial court’s decision. Smith’s rights under Article I, Section 19, of the Indiana Constitution are not implicated because the Legislature has not committed the determination of repeat sexual offender status to the jury. And the federal constitutional rule that “any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury” does not apply to “the fact of a prior conviction.” The only facts at issue in determining repeat sexual offender status are defendant’s prior convictions. * * *

Conclusion. Finding Indiana Code Section 35-50-2-14 to be constitutional under both the Indiana and United States Constitutions, and having summarily affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals as to the issue referred to in Footnote 1, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Shepard, C.J., and Dickson, Boehm, and Rucker, JJ., concur.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 20, 2005 01:51 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions