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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court revises a defendant's sentence

In Leonard Lamont Frye v. State of Indiana the Supreme Court today, in a decision written by Justice Sullivan, revised the sentence of a defendant who had been sentenced to 40 years for breaking into a home and taking a television set.

At trial, a jury found Frye guilty of the Burglary, Theft, and False Informing charges. It also determined that Frye was a Habitual Offender. The trial court sentenced Frye to 15 years incarceration on the Burglary charge, which was enhanced by 25 years for being a Habitual Of-fender, for a total of 40 years. * * *

Frye appealed his sentence, arguing that his sentence was inappropriate in light of the na-ture of his offense and his character. The Court of Appeals affirmed his 40 year sentence for Burglary “in light of his extensive criminal history and questionable character. . . .” * * * Frye sought, and we granted, transfer. * * *

Frye asks that we exercise our authority under Indiana Constitution article VII section 4, to review and revise his sentence. We may do so “if after due consideration of the trial court’s decision, the Court finds that the sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.” Ind. Appellate Rule 7(B). As noted above, the trial court en-hanced the presumptive sentence for Burglary of 10 years by five years to a total of 15 years and then imposed a Habitual Offender enhancement of 25 years, for a total executed sentence of 40 years. We agree with Frye that 40 years is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender. * * *

We revise Frye’s sentence for Burglary to the presumptive term for a Class B felony of 10 years. Under the Habitual Offender enhancement, we impose an additional sentence of 15 years for a total of 25 years on the Burglary charge. Frye’s remaining sentences for Theft and False Informing remain unchanged and are to run concurrently.

We reverse Frye’s sentence of 40 years for Burglary and being a Habitual Offender and remand to the sentencing court with instructions to issue an amended sentencing order and to is-sue or make any other document or docket entries necessary to impose upon Frye a sentence of 10 years for Burglary as a Class B felony, enhanced by 15 years for being a Habitual Offender, without a hearing.

Shepard, C.J., and Boehm, and Rucker, JJ., concur. Dickson, J., dissents with separate opinion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 1, 2005 11:56 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions