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Skipworth v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

January 10, 2017

Jacob Skipworth, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Hilary Bowe Ricks Indianapolis, Indiana.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill Attorney General of Indiana Matthew B. Mackenzie Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana.

          ROBB, JUDGE.

         Case Summary and Issue

         [¶1] Following a bench trial, Jacob Skipworth was convicted of criminal confinement and strangulation, both Level 6 felonies. The trial court sentenced Skipworth to one year for each conviction, to be served concurrently. The trial court gave Skipworth 258 days' credit for time served and ordered the remaining 107 days to be suspended to probation. As a condition of probation, the trial court ordered Skipworth to complete twenty-six weeks of domestic violence counseling, and stated if Skipworth complied with all conditions of probation, it would grant alternate misdemeanor sentencing. Skipworth now appeals, raising one issue that we expand and restate as two: (1) whether the trial court abused its discretion in ordering domestic violence counseling, and (2) whether the trial court's oral and written sentencing statements conflict. Concluding the trial court did not abuse its discretion, but that the Sentencing Order and Abstract of Judgment contain clerical errors, we affirm and remand to the trial court to correct these errors.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] In the afternoon of December 9, 2015, Skipworth returned to the apartment he shared with his former girlfriend, Amber Parke. Skipworth arrived in a paranoid and erratic state of mind, telling Parke "people . . . were there to get him, harm him, kill him, and [that] . . . people were even on the roof." Transcript at 16. When Parke attempted to persuade him that no one was after him, Skipworth became irate and jumped on top of her. Skipworth straddled Parke, placed his hands around her neck, and strangled her for two to five minutes before he stopped. At some point, Skipworth had also grabbed two kitchen knives; he held one to Parke's throat and wielded the other knife in a "threatening manner." Id. at 24. He told Parke to "be quiet because he didn't want people to hear [them] . . . and that there [were] people out to get him[.]" Id. at 23. Eventually, Skipworth received a phone call from his mother and went outside, allowing Parke to call the police.

         [¶3] The State charged Skipworth with Count I, Intimidation, a Level 5 felony; Count II, Criminal Confinement, a Level 5 felony; Count III, Strangulation, a Level 6 felony; Count IV, Criminal Recklessness, a Level 6 felony; Count V, Domestic Battery, a Class A misdemeanor; Count VI, Battery Resulting in Bodily Injury, a Class A misdemeanor; and Count VII, Interference with Reporting a Crime, a Class A misdemeanor. A bench trial was held in March 2016, and the trial court dismissed Count V, Domestic Battery, following Skipworth's motion for involuntary dismissal. The trial court found Skipworth guilty of Criminal Confinement, a Level 6 felony and the lesser included offense of Count II, and Count III, Strangulation.

         [¶4] At the sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Skipworth to one year on each conviction, to be served concurrently. The trial court gave Skipworth 258 days' credit for time served, and suspended the remaining 107 days to probation. The trial court further stated,

He is placed on probation for a period of-or for the remainder of his one year sentence. While on probation he is to have no contact with the alleged victim in this case. He is to enroll in and complete a term of domestic counseling. Upon completion of his domestic violence counseling alternate misdemeanor sentencing shall be granted.

Id. at 105. When the trial court issued its written Sentencing Order and Abstract of Judgment, the trial court ordered Skipworth to complete "26 weeks" of domestic violence counseling and stated that upon successful completion of probation, alternate misdemeanor sentencing "shall be considered." Appellant's Appendix at 14, 16. Skipworth now appeals.[1]

         Discussion and Decision

         I. Domestic Violence Counseling

         [¶5] Skipworth first argues the trial court abused its discretion in ordering domestic violence counseling. Specifically, he asserts because he was not convicted of domestic battery, it was unreasonable for the trial court to ...


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