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State v. Stafford

Court of Appeals of Indiana

October 19, 2017

State of Indiana, Appellant-Respondent,
v.
Pebble Stafford, Appellee-Petitioner

         Appeal from the Jefferson Circuit Court The Honorable W. Gregory Coy, Special Judge Trial Court Cause No. 39C01-1307-FB-696

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Ellen H. Meilaender Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE Jason J. Pattison Jenner, Pattison, Sutter & Wynn, LLP Madison, Indiana

          Baker, Judge.

         [¶1] In 2013, Pebble Stafford pleaded guilty to three charges, including Class B felony dealing in a controlled substance. Her plea agreement purported to waive her right to seek later modification of her sentence. After the General Assembly amended the sentence modification statute in 2014, Stafford petitioned the trial court for a sentence modification. The trial court granted that motion, and the State now appeals. We affirm and remand with instructions.

         Facts

         [¶2] On July 18, 2013, the State charged Stafford with Class B felony dealing in a controlled substance. Stafford was also facing two unrelated charges in two other separate cause numbers.

         [¶3] On June 10, 2014, Stafford entered into a plea agreement resolving all three cases. She agreed to plead guilty to Class B felony dealing in a controlled substance, Class B misdemeanor possession of substance to interfere with a screening test, and Class C felony battery. The agreement provided that she would receive consecutive sentences of six years in the Department of Correction (DOC) with none suspended for the Class B felony; thirty days in the Jefferson County Jail with none suspended for the Class B misdemeanor; and four years in the DOC with none suspended, with direct placement to community corrections for the Class C felony battery.

         [¶4] On January 30, 2017, Stafford filed a petition to modify her Class B felony sentence; the State objected to the petition. Following a hearing, the trial court granted Stafford's petition on April 12, 2017. In relevant part, the trial court found and held as follows:

2. The plea agreement was silent as to the right of the defendant to seek a modification; nor did it preclude her from doing so.
3. The Defendant has completed a therapeutic community [program] for which she was given credit toward her sentence . . . .
4. After completion of the CLIFF program the Defendant served as a mentor in the program.
5. The Defendant also obtained a GED, completed a course in Problem Solving, and took courses in building trades.
6. The Defendant's plan upon release is to go to the Ruth Haven halfway house, obtain a full time job, remain clean, and continue her education at ...

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