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Messersmith v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 15, 2017

Justin R. Messersmith, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal 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 Indianapolis, Indiana.

          BAILEY, JUDGE.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] 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, [1] and one count of Battery on a Person Less Than 14 Years Old, as a Level 6 felony.[2] 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 agreement.[3]

         [¶2] We reverse and remand with instructions.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] 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.[4] At a February 23, 2015 hearing, Messersmith pleaded guilty. The trial court accepted his plea, entered judgment on Count II, and dismissed Count I.

         [¶4] 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.

         [¶5] A jury trial commenced on September 24, 2015, and Messersmith was convicted of both counts.

         [¶6] This appeal ensued.

         Discussion and Decision

         [¶7] 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 ...


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