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Treece v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

May 29, 2014

FLOYD WILLIAM TREECE, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, Appellee-Plaintiff

Page 53

APPEAL FROM THE TIPPECANOE SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Randy J. Williams, Judge. Cause No. 79D01-1007-FB-15.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DAVID T.A. MATTINGLY, Mattingly Legal, LLC, Lafayette, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana; BRIAN REITZ, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

CRONE, Judge. BAKER, J., and BARNES, J., concur.

Page 54

OPINION

CRONE, Judge.

Case Summary

Floyd William Treece was convicted of possession of methamphetamine and possession of an illegal drug lab and admitted to being a habitual offender. He was sentenced to an aggregate term of fourteen years, which included a term of commitment to the Department of Correction (" DOC" ), followed by time in a community corrections program, and the remainder suspended to probation. Before the scheduled release date from his DOC commitment, he requested and was granted assignment to a community transition program (" CTP" ) for the last 120 days of his DOC commitment. He was assigned to the CTP at Tippecanoe County Community Corrections (" TCCC" ).

During his time in the CTP, Treece discovered another person sitting in his chair and kicked him in the face, which was a violation of TCCC's rule against assault and battery. He admitted to the violation, and TCCC removed him from its CTP. When Treece was released from the DOC, he reported to TCCC for the community corrections portion of his sentence. TCCC informed him that he had been rejected from participation in any of its programs as a result of his violent rule violation. The State filed a motion requesting that Treece be committed to the DOC and that his placement in community corrections be revoked, which the trial court granted.

Treece appeals the revocation of his community corrections placement. He argues that the trial court abused its discretion in revoking his community corrections placement because (1) the TCCC did not have the authority to reject his placement in community corrections for a rule violation he committed while assigned to the CTP because the CTP is a DOC program and the DOC is not statutorily authorized to reject an inmate's placement in community corrections as a disciplinary action; and (2) the trial court failed to consider the progress he made toward rehabilitation during his DOC commitment. We conclude that the CTP is a TCCC program and that the statutes governing the DOC's disciplinary actions do not apply to TCCC. Therefore, TCCC had the authority to reject Treece from his placement in community corrections for a violation he committed while in the CTP. We also conclude that the trial court was not required to consider his progress toward rehabilitation when determining whether his rule violation warranted revocation of his community corrections placement. We conclude that he committed an act of violence, and therefore the trial court did not abuse its discretion in revoking his community corrections placement. Therefore, we affirm. We also remand for the trial court to clarify its sentencing order.

Facts and Procedural History

Treece pled guilty to class D felony possession of methamphetamine and class C felony possession of an illegal drug lab and admitted to being a habitual substance offender.

Page 55

The trial court sentenced Treece to consecutive terms of three years for possession of methamphetamine, six years for possession of an illegal drug lab, and five years for being a habitual substance offender, for an aggregate term of fourteen years. The trial court ordered Treece to " execute eight (8) years at the [DOC] to include two (2) years with [TCCC] at a level to be determined by Community Corrections." Appellant's App. at 15. The sentencing order also stated that " [Treece's] sentence calls for an executed term of imprisonment of ten years." Id. at 17. The trial court ordered that four years be suspended and that Treece be placed on supervised probation for four years. In addition, the sentencing order provided, " [Treece] shall obey all Community Corrections Rules. If he is rejected from Community Corrections, that time will be spent in the Department of Correction." Id. at 16.

Treece was incarcerated at the Westville Correctional Facility. By letter dated February 1, 2013, he informed the trial court that his release date was July 25, 2013, and requested assignment to a CTP for the last 120 days of his commitment to the DOC. After the trial court received a recommendation from the TCCC CTP recommendation panel that Treece be assigned to the CTP, the court granted Treece's request and ordered the DOC to assign him to the CTP. Id. at 28. Treece was transported to TCCC to serve in its CTP until July 25, 2013, at which time he was to begin serving the two-year portion of his sentence with TCCC pursuant to the sentencing order.

On June 22, 2013, Treece was serving in the CTP at TCCC when he returned to the TCCC day room and found that someone was sitting in a seat that he had formerly occupied. Tr. at 10. A still from the video recording of the room in which the incident occurred shows over sixty seats, almost all of which were unoccupied. Appellant's App. at 33. Instead of taking one of the other seats, Treece kicked the person in the face. A TCCC hearing officer conducted a hearing, at which Treece admitted to kicking the inmate in the face. The hearing officer concluded that Treece violated TCCC Rule 212 regarding assault and battery. Id. at 32. As a consequence of his rule violation, TCCC removed him from its CTP.

On July 9, 2013, the trial court received notice from TCCC that it was rejecting Treece from the community corrections portion of his sentence due to fighting while he was in its CTP. Id. at 29. TCCC explained that it had a " zero tolerance for participants that fight" and that if " a participant fights while on [TCCC] they will never be accepted for placement again." Id.

On July 25, 2013, Treece was released from commitment to the DOC. He reported to TCCC to serve his two years in community corrections pursuant to the sentencing order, at which time he was informed that TCCC was rejecting his placement in its program. On July 26, 2013, the State filed a motion to commit Treece to the DOC, asking the court to revoke his community corrections placement and remand him to the custody of the DOC for the two years that he was supposed to serve in community corrections. At the hearing on the State's motion, Treece argued that TCCC did not have the authority to reject him from its program because at the time of his rule violation he was still in the CTP, which, he argued, was a DOC program. The trial court concluded that TCCC could reject Treece based upon his rule violation while assigned to its CTP and granted the State's motion. Treece appeals.

Discussion and Decision

Standard of Review

Treece presents two arguments that the trial court abused ...


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