« Ind. Decisions - Transfer list for week ending September 16, 2016 | Main | Courts - NYT editorial on risk-based scoring for release without bail »

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ind. Decisions - "COA: Woman's convictions must be 'expunged'"

Mindy M. Cline v. State of Indiana (ILB summary here), a Sept. 15th Court of Appeals opinion, is the subject of a Sept. 18th story by Douglas Walker in the Muncie Star-Press. Some quotes:

PORTLAND – A state appeals court has ordered Jay Circuit Court Judge Brian Hutchison to expunge a former Dunkirk woman's convictions for dealing in methamphetamine and forgery.

In a ruling last Nov. 13, Hutchison declined to expunge records of the prosecution of Mindy M. McCowan, who was 22 when she was convicted of forgery in August 2003 and 23 when she pleaded guilty to dealing in meth in September 2004.

At a hearing a day earlier, Hutchison had told McCowan he didn't “have any fond memories of you... (and) your criminal behavior.”

The judge focused in part of McCowan's meth-related conviction.

“Putting it bluntly, it's a pain in my ass,” Hutchison said. “I have (to) deal with meth and heroin every damn day here, and I've... I've had a belly full. I'm not doing favors for people who are causing these problems in Jay County.”

In a 2-1 ruling last week, the Indiana Court of Appeals said “the trial court abused its discretion,” adding that "all evidence presented... mitigate toward expungement."

McCowan was released from prison in 2007 and completed probation in 2010. She has since maintained employment and earned an associate's degree and professional certifications, according to the ruling.

In that majority opinion, Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote that Hutchison's “articulation of (his) evaluative process to be particularly troubling.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 19, 2016 09:43 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions