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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today, a sentencing revision, and a rare 3-2 split for the "new" Rush court

In William A. Parks v. State of Indiana, a 10-page, 3-2 opinion, Justice David writes:

William Parks was convicted of Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine and received an aggregate sentence of forty (40) years. Parks now asks this Court to evaluate the appropriateness of that sentence in light of the nature of the offense and his character under Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B). Reaffirming our authority and our reluctance to grant such a request, in this case our collective judgment has determined that a sentence revision is warranted. * * *

In our collective judgment, Parks’ sentence is excessive. We believe a more appropriate sentence given the nature of the offense and the character of the defendant would be an aggregate sentence of thirty (30) years, with twenty (20) years to be executed at the Department of Correction, two (2) years to be executed through the Tippecanoe County Community Corrections, and eight (8) years to be suspended to probation, of which four (4) years Parks should be placed on supervised probation and four (4) years on unsupervised probation. This case is remanded to the trial court to impose a sentence of thirty (30) years for Count II dealing in methamphetamine4 to be served as stated.

Rush, C.J., Rucker, J., concur

Dickson, J., dissents with separate opinion in which Massa, J., joins. [J. Dickson's dissent, which begins on p. 7, concludes on p. 10]: Giving due consideration to the trial court's responsibility and unique opportunity to perceive and assess relevant factors, its decision imposing a moderate sentence near the middle of the designated statutory range, particularly in light of the serious nature of the offense and the lack of demonstrated virtuous character of the defendant; this case is not an extremely rare, exceptional case warranting appellate sentence modification. I decline to join the Court's opinion finding this sentence to be inappropriate.

Massa, J., concurs.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 10, 2014 12:14 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions