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Keith v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

January 11, 2018

Amber Keith, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

         Appeal from the Hendricks Superior Court The Honorable Stephenie Lemay-Luken, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 32D05-1703-F6-293

          Attorney for Appellant Cara Schaefer Wieneke Wieneke Law Office, LLC Brooklyn, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Lee M. Stoy, Jr. Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          MAY, JUDGE.

         [¶1] Amber Keith challenges the sufficiency of evidence supporting her conviction of Level 6 felony escape.[1] She argues the State charged her with a crime of which she could not be convicted because her home does not qualify as a place of "lawful detention" from which to escape as required for conviction of escape under Indiana Code section 35-44.1-3-4(c). We hold that, for persons on home detention, a home is a place of lawful detention and, accordingly, affirm Keith's conviction of escape.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On March 1, 2017, pursuant to her conviction for a crime about which the record gives us no additional information, Keith was ordered to serve 180 days on home detention. The home detention order stipulated Keith was to remain in her home except to attend probation appointments and to have her monitoring device maintained.

         [¶3] Keith was fitted with the monitoring device on March 6, 2017. Probation/Home Detention Officer Chad Koebcke instructed Keith in the use of the monitoring anklet that includes a GPS tracking device[2] and the other conditions of home detention. When Keith left the home detention office at approximately 10:00 a.m., Officer Koebcke told her "to go directly home." (Tr. at 11.) She did not.

         [¶4] The GPS tracking device tracked Keith going to numerous other locations prior to going home. Around noon, Keith went home but then left again. Keith returned to her home around 2:00 p.m. During her travels, Officer Koebcke sent messages to her monitoring unit advising Keith to "call [her home detention] officer immediately[.]" (Id. at 13.) She did not do so. "[A]t approximately five o'clock (5:00) . . . the anklet lost power and died." (Id. at 15.) Keith plugged it in "at approximately eleven (11) eleven [sic] fifteen (15) that evening." (Id.) During that power loss, the home detention office "could not say for certain" where she had been. (Id.)

         [¶5] The State charged Keith under Indiana Code section 35-44.1-3-4(c) (2014), which states "[a] person who knowingly or intentionally fails to return to lawful detention following temporary leave granted for a specified purpose or limited period commits failure to return to lawful detention, a Level 6 felony." The trial court found Keith had been "granted temporary leave . . . to leave from the . . . home detention office to her home and she failed to do so[;] therefore she [] committed the offense of failure to return to lawful detention[.]" (Id. at 21.) The trial court ordered Keith to serve 180 days incarcerated, with credit for time served.

         Discussion and Decision

         [¶6] Keith asserts the State did not present sufficient evidence to prove she committed escape because her home cannot be considered "lawful detention" to which she failed to return, as required under the statutory definition of escape. See Ind. Code § 35-44.1-3-4(c). She argues the ankle monitor, not her home, was the lawful detention and she was not ever granted a temporary leave from which she failed to return because she never left the ankle monitor behind.[3]

         [¶7] As Keith agrees she did not go home as ordered, but rather argues her home is not the place of lawful detention from which the State was required to prove she escaped, we must interpret the lawful detention statute. When faced with a question of statutory interpretation, our review is de novo. In re M.W., 913 N.E.2d 784, 786 (Ind.Ct.App. 2009). We first decide if the statute is ambiguous. Id. If it is not, we need not and do not interpret it, but instead apply its plain and clear meaning. Id. If the statute is susceptible to more than one reasonable interpretation, it is ambiguous, and we must determine the legislature's intent so that we can give effect to that intent. Maroney v. State, 849 N.E.2d 745, 748 (Ind.Ct.App. 2006). Statutes must be read in harmony with related statutes. St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Ctrs., Inc. v. Poland, 828 N.E.2d 396, 402 (Ind.Ct.App. 2005), trans. denied. We assume the legislature intended statutory language to be applied in a logical manner consistent with the statute's underlying policy and goals. B.K.C. v. State, 781 N.E.2d 1157, 1167 (Ind.Ct.App. 2003).

         [¶8] Lawful detention is ...

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