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Grundy v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 30, 2015

Scott Grundy, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

Page 676

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court. The Honorable Kurt Eisgruber, Judge. The Honorable Steven J. Rubick, Magistrate. Cause No. 49G01-1401-FC-1983.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Kevin Wild, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Lyubov Gore, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Najam, Judge. Baker, J., and Friedlander, J., concur.


Page 677

Najam, Judge.

Statement of the Case

[¶1] Scott Grundy appeals his conviction for Aggravated Battery, a Class B felony, and his habitual offender adjudication. Grundy presents three issues for our review, which we revise and restate as:

1. Whether the State presented sufficient evidence to support his conviction.
2. Whether his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.
3. Whether the trial court erred when it enhanced his sentence under the prior version of the habitual offender statute.

[¶2] We affirm Grundy's conviction and his sentence, and we hold that the July 1, 2014, revisions to the habitual offender statute, Indiana Code Section 35-50-2-8, do not apply retroactively to offenses committed prior to the effective date of our new criminal code.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶3] In August 2012, Grundy began a romantic relationship with Jennifer Smith, which lasted for more than a year. Because of Grundy's alcoholism and substance abuse, however, the two separated and reconciled frequently, and the couple's relationship was often tumultuous. Indeed, between April and late December 2013, more than ten police reports resulted from Grundy's relationship with Smith.

[¶4] In December 2013, Smith was employed at Covance in Indianapolis, and, on December 28, Smith agreed to give two of her coworkers, Tonya Hardin and Fu Chia Tsai, a ride home after their shift ended at 7:00 p.m. The three's relationship was strictly professional; none associated outside of work. At approximately 7:00 p.m., Smith, Hardin, and Tsai exited the building together and walked to Smith's vehicle, and, when they approached, they noticed

Page 678

that someone had broken Smith's windshield wipers. Smith immediately suspected Grundy, who had sent Smith argumentative text messages earlier in the day, to which Smith did not respond.

[¶5] As the three observed the damage to Smith's car, Grundy drove his vehicle[1] from a nearby road, across a grassy area adjacent to the parking lot at Covance, and over some shrubbery that divided the parking lot from the grassy area. Grundy sped towards Smith, Hardin, and Tsai, and, when he got close to where the three were standing, Grundy exited the vehicle and aggressively approached Tsai. As Grundy walked towards Tsai, Grundy asked Tsai who he was and about the status of his relationship with Smith. When Tsai answered that he was Smith's coworker, Grundy responded, " Co-worker my ass." Tr. at 13. Grundy then charged Tsai and punched him once in the face, which knocked Tsai to the ground. Once down, Grundy delivered a kick to Tsai's face. Grundy immediately returned to his vehicle and fled. Tsai remained conscious but went into shock and lost memory for ten seconds after the attack.[2]

[¶6] After the attack, Smith ran to the security desk at Covance and reported to the acting security guard, Daniel Osborne, that Grundy had attacked Tsai. Osborne called the police, and Officer Eric Walker with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department responded to Osborne's call. Officer Walker actually knew Tsai personally, but, when he arrived, Officer Walker did not recognize him because of the severe injuries to Tsai's face. Smith identified Grundy to Officer Walker as Tsai's assailant.

[¶7] Because of his injuries, Tsai was transported to the hospital where he discovered that Grundy had broken six of the seven bones in his right eye socket, fractured his right cheek bone, and broken his nose in two places. Tsai's cheek was " significantly flattened," and, at the hospital, he had double vision, blurred vision, and trouble breathing. State's Ex. 17. Tsai was treated and released.

[¶8] On January 13, 2014, the hospital referred Tsai to Dr. Hu Bai Harold Lee, an oculoplastic surgeon who specializes in reconstructive surgery, but, due to swelling in Tsai's face, Dr. Lee could not operate until January 21, 2014. In the interim, Tsai continued to have difficulty chewing and breathing,[3] and he suffered headaches almost daily, which disrupted his sleep. As a result of his injuries, Tsai could not read. When Dr. Lee was able to operate on Tsai on January 21, to reconstruct Tsai's face, he placed three permanent titanium plates with metal screws into Tsai's eye socket, and he also fitted a permanent, plastic implant into Tsai's eye socket. The plates, screws, and implant restored the bones in Tsai's face to their anatomically correct positions, and they corrected his double and blurred vision, which would have persisted absent the surgery. Tsai's vision prescription, however, changed, and the surgery permanently left Tsai with scarring and a droopy eyelid. Moreover, because the attack damaged a prominent nerve in Tsai's eye socket, which provides sensation to the cheek, Tsai now has permanent numbness in the right side of his face.

Page 679

¶9 On January 15, 2014, the State charged Grundy by information with one count of battery, as a Class C felony, and, on February 4, the State amended its charging information to include one count of aggravated battery, a class B felony. Thereafter, Grundy moved for a speedy trial, which the trial court granted on June 9, and the State filed its habitual offender information on June 10.[4]

[¶10] While Grundy awaited trial in the Marion County Jail, he called his uncle, Gerald Grundy (" Uncle Gerry" ), who questioned Grundy about his crime. In response, Grundy explained:

[Grundy]: . . . [W]hen two people [are] in a fight[,] how hard are [they] supposed to fight[?] I hit the guy one time[,] kicked him one time[; ] that was it.
* * *
[Grundy]: [H]ow bad is serious bodily injury? I mean . . . they have the video and all that. And allegedly I did all this stuff. That's how we talk on the phone. But even if the video was to reflect anything[,] it would allegedly show somebody ...

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