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Robinson v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 15, 2017

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

         Appeal from the Floyd Circuit Court The Honorable J. Terrence Cody, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 22C01-1402-FD-377.

          R. Patrick Magrath Alcorn Sage Schwartz & Magrath, LLP Madison, Indiana Attorney for Appellant

          Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Tyler G. Banks Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana Attorneys for Appellee

          Pyle, Judge.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Jacob O. Robinson ("Robinson") appeals the sentence imposed following his guilty plea to Class D felony attempted residential entry[1] and his admission to being an habitual substance offender.[2]Robinson argues that: (1) the trial court abused its discretion by denying his motion to continue his sentencing hearing; and (2) his sentence is inappropriate. However, we need not address these issues because we sua sponte conclude that Robinson's habitual substance offender adjudication and enhancement of the sentence for a non-substance offense was contrary to statute. Because the trial court entered an illegal sentence and the parties' plea agreement-which left sentencing open to the trial court's discretion-does not allow the trial court to lawfully enter an habitual substance offender sentencing enhancement, we reverse and remand to the trial court for further proceedings.

         [¶2] We reverse and remand.

         Issue [3]

Whether this case should be reversed and remanded to the trial court because the habitual substance offender adjudication and enhancement of a non-substance conviction was contrary to statute.

         Facts

         [¶3] On February 21, 2014, Robinson fled on foot from the police, and, in an attempt to evade the police, approached the door of a stranger's home, beat on the door to try and gain entry, and broke the door knob. Thereafter, the State charged Robinson, under cause number 22C01-1402-FD-377 ("Cause 377"), with the following: (1) Class D felony attempted residential entry; (2) Class D felony possession of methamphetamine; (3) Class D felony unlawful possession of a syringe; (4) Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana; (5) Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia; and (6) Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. The State also alleged that Robinson was: (7) an habitual offender; and (8) an habitual substance offender.[4]

         [¶4] A few months later, in November 2014, while Robinson was out on bond, he filed from the police while driving his car. The State then charged him, under cause number 22C01-1411-F6-1932 ("Cause 1932"), with Level 6 felony resisting law enforcement and alleged that he was an habitual offender.

         [¶5] On May 1, 2015, Robinson entered into two different written "Blind" or open plea agreements with the State for Cause 377. Both plea agreements were file stamped by the trial court clerk. (App. Vol. 1 at 58-60, 75-77). In one of the plea agreements, Robinson agreed to plead guilty to Count 2, Class D felony possession of methamphetamine, and Count 8, the habitual substance offender allegation. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss all remaining charges and the habitual offender allegation against him. In the other plea agreement, Robinson agreed to plead guilty to Count 1, Class D felony attempted residential entry, and Count 8, the habitual substance offender allegation. In exchange, the State agreed to dismiss all remaining charges and the habitual offender allegation against him. In both of these plea agreements, there was a provision marked to indicate that Robinson had agreed to waive his right to appeal. Specifically, the provision provided, "Defendant waives right to appeal and post-conviction relief." (App. Vol. 1 at 60, 77).[5] Robinson, his counsel, and the prosecutor signed both plea agreements.

         [¶6] That same day, the parties met for a change of plea hearing. At the beginning of the hearing, however, Robinson's counsel informed the trial court that Robinson had had a "change of heart" and had decided that he wanted to proceed to trial. (Tr. 3). The State did not object to Robinson's request, and the trial court later set Robinson's case for trial on July 27, 2015.

         [¶7] On July 23, 2015, Robinson pled guilty to Count 1, Class D felony attempted residential entry, and he admitted that he was an habitual substance offender as contained in Count 8. In return for Robinson's guilty plea, the State dismissed the remaining five charges and the habitual offender allegation against him. During the plea hearing, Robinson acknowledged that was leaving sentencing open to the trial court's discretion.[6] The trial court accepted his guilty pleas and entered judgments of conviction.[7] At the end of the plea hearing, the trial court set Robinson's sentencing hearing for September 24, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. The trial ...


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