Justin R. Messersmith, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
from the Madison Circuit Court The Honorable Thomas Newman,
Jr., Judge, Trial Court Cause No. 48C03-1407-F5-1341
Attorney for Appellant Scott A. Norrick Anderson, Indiana.
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana J.T. Whitehead Deputy Attorney General
Following a jury trial, Justin R. Messersmith
("Messersmith") was convicted of one count of
Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Bodily Injury, as a Level
5 felony,  and one count of Battery on a Person Less
Than 14 Years Old, as a Level 6 felony. Messersmith now
appeals, contending that the trial court abused its
discretion when, after accepting a plea agreement and
entering judgment of conviction against Messersmith pursuant
to the agreement, the trial court later granted the
State's request to withdraw the plea
We reverse and remand with instructions.
and Procedural History
On July 22, 2014, Messersmith injured his four-year-old son
when he forcibly pushed him against a trailer at the Madison
County Fair. Messersmith was arrested, and the State brought
two charges against him: (1) Neglect of a Dependent Resulting
in Bodily Injury, as a Level 5 felony; and (2) Battery on a
Person Less Than 14 Years Old, as a Level 6 felony.
Messersmith reached a plea agreement with the State whereby
he would plead guilty to Count II and the State would move to
dismiss Count I. At a February 23, 2015 hearing,
Messersmith pleaded guilty. The trial court accepted his
plea, entered judgment on Count II, and dismissed Count I.
On March 30, 2015, the State orally sought to withdraw the
plea agreement because the State entered the agreement
without first notifying the victim. Messersmith objected.
After taking the matter under advisement, the trial court
entered an order granting the State's request to withdraw
the plea agreement.
A jury trial commenced on September 24, 2015, and Messersmith
was convicted of both counts.
This appeal ensued.
Messersmith argues that the trial court abused its discretion
when, after accepting the plea agreement and entering its
judgment of conviction, the trial court granted the
State's request to withdraw the plea agreement. "We
review for an abuse of discretion a decision to permit
withdrawal of a plea agreement." Dunn v. State,
33 N.E.3d 1074, 1075 (Ind.Ct.App. 2015) (citing Badger v.
State, 637 N.E.2d 800, 802 (Ind. 1994)). A trial court
abuses its discretion when its decision is clearly ...