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Singh v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

August 20, 2015

Pardip Singh, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

Page 982

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court. The Honorable Sheila A. Carlisle, Judge. Trial Court Cause No. 49G03-1208-FB-056991.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: Dylan A. Vigh, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; Tyler G. Banks, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.


Page 983

Mathias, Judge.

[¶1] Following a jury trial, Pardip Singh (" Singh" ) was convicted of Class B felony attempted promotion of human trafficking, Class C felony criminal confinement, and Class D felony intimidation. He received an aggregate sentence of fifteen years. Singh appeals and raises the following three issues, which we restate as:

1. Whether sufficient evidence supports Singh's conviction for attempted promotion of human trafficking;
2. Whether Singh's convictions for attempted promotion of human trafficking and criminal confinement are barred on double jeopardy principles; and
3. Whether the trial court abused its sentencing discretion in finding certain aggravating factors.

[¶2] We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶3] Singh and P.K. were paired by a matchmaker and married in March 2006. At the time, P.K. was living in India and studying nursing. For the following six years, Singh lived in the United States and occasionally visited P.K., who was still living in India. In February 2012, P.K. moved to the United States to live with Singh and his parents in New Jersey. She had no other family in the country except for an uncle in California, no job, and spoke little English. At some point while they were living in New Jersey, Singh began to beat P.K. and prohibited her from contacting her family in India.

[¶4] Singh and P.K. moved to Indiana in May 2012, shortly after Singh began working as a commercial truck driver. On May 7, 2012, Singh's father drove P.K. to Ohio, where they met Singh. For the next four days, Singh and P.K. drove throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York before arriving in Indianapolis. During this time, Singh forced P.K. to remain in the back of the cab of his semi-truck and gave her only cookies and water to eat and drink. When P.K. had to use the restroom, Singh followed her and warned her that he would kill her if she spoke to anyone.

[¶5] On May 12, 2012, soon after Singh and P.K. reached the apartment Singh and his father had leased in Indianapolis, Singh called P.K.'s father and told him that

Page 984

Singh was going to kill P.K. He also called P.K.'s uncle, who lived in California, and demanded that he be paid the equivalent of roughly $64,000, or he would kill P.K. After beating P.K., Singh made three more phone calls, during which P.K. heard Singh say that he had " a girl from India" and that he would " take $500 for one night for her." Tr. p. 244. Singh left the apartment shortly thereafter, telling P.K. that he would kill her if she left the apartment.

[¶6] When Singh returned later, he was accompanied by an unidentified male. P.K., who was in another room, heard Singh say " 500" to the man. Tr. p. 246. She refused to come out of the room when Singh called her. Singh dragged her by the hair out of the room and, when she refused to go with the man, began to beat her. The man fled, and Singh continued to beat P.K., eventually pushing her down the stairs of their second-story apartment. She landed at the bottom of the stairs, near the apartment complex's mailboxes. Singh then grabbed her and pounded her head against the metal mailboxes. At some point during the beating, Singh's cell phone rang and he stopped the attack long enough to answer it. P.K. took the opportunity to flee upstairs to the apartment, where she locked Singh out.

[¶7] Singh called the police from outside the apartment. When Officer Robert Robinson (" Officer Robinson" ) of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department arrived, Singh asked for the officer's help in re-entering his apartment. Officer Robinson knocked on the apartment door and announced his presence. When P.K. opened the door, Officer Robinson observed that she was " visibly upset," shaking, crying, and had a " red abrasion" on her forehead. Tr. pp. 210-11. She pleaded for the officer's help, crying " [h]e hurt me. He won't let me go." Id. After speaking with P.K., Officer Robinson arrested Singh.

[¶8] On August 17, 2012, the State charged Singh with Class B felony promotion of human trafficking, Class C felony criminal confinement, Class D felony intimidation, Class D felony criminal confinement, Class A misdemeanor domestic battery, and Class A misdemeanor battery. After Singh's counsel filed a notice indicating that Singh was mentally incompetent to stand trial, the trial court appointed two physicians to evaluate Singh's competency. On August 29, 2013, with the consent of both parties, the trial court issued an order committing Singh to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction in order to " provide competency restoration services" for Singh. Appellant's App. pp. 38-39.

[¶9] On March 6, 2014, the Logansport State Hospital notified the trial court that Singh had been determined to be competent to stand trial. Singh's jury trial was held on August 18, 2014. The jury found Singh guilty of five of the six counts, ...

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