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Flowers v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

April 18, 2018

Michael Flowers, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Clark Circuit Court Trial Court Cause No. 10C01-1006-FB-108 The Honorable Andrew Adams, Judge

          Attorney for Appellant Christopher Sturgeon Clark County Public Defender's Office Jeffersonville, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana J.T. Whitehead Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          Brown, Judge.

         [¶1] Michael Flowers appeals the trial court's revocation of his placement in a community corrections program. Flowers raises one issue which we revise and restate as whether the doctrine of res judicata precludes the trial court's revocation of his placement. We reverse and remand.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] On September 27, 2012, Flowers entered a plea agreement in which he agreed to plead guilty to aggravated battery as a class B felony and the State agreed to dismiss the remaining counts against him. The plea agreement provided that Flowers would be sentenced to sixteen years executed at the Department of Correction and that the State had no objection to Flowers serving the "last six (6) year term (three (3) years actual) in the Clark County Work Release Program."[1] Appellant's Appendix Volume II at 140. The court's sentencing order states that it accepted Flowers's plea and "sentences [him] to the Indiana Department of Correction for a sixteen (16) year-executed term of imprisonment." Id. at 156. The order also states: "The State has no objection to [Flowers] serving the last six (6) year term (three (3) years actual) in the Clark County Work Release Program if approved by the Court." Id.

         [¶3] On December 7, 2016, the State filed a Petition to Revoke Placement in Community Corrections Work Release alleging that Flowers failed to follow the rules of the Clark County Community Corrections Program by: "[p]ositive drug screen for Methamphetamine on 11/22/2016. Mr. Flowers admitted to the use of Methamphetamine and signed an admission form stating that he used said substance on 12/7/2016"; having "multiple late returns to the work release facility ranging from 5 minutes to over an hour"; and being in arrears in program fees in the amount of $7, 210.50. Id. at 161.

         [¶4] On January 18, 2017, the court held a hearing on the petition to revoke placement. Flowers admitted to the violations. Valerie, Flowers's case manager, indicated she believed Flowers's behavior would prevent him from qualifying to re-enter community corrections. She testified that Flowers "could not comply with the terms and conditions of Work Release." Transcript Volume II at 18. The prosecutor recommended that Flowers serve the remainder of his sentence in the Department of Correction. Flowers's counsel recommended that the court modify the sentence and order Flowers to serve the balance of his sentence on home incarceration. The court found that Flowers violated the terms and conditions of work release, granted the change of placement, and stated that "the executed portion, balance of the executing portion of the sentence be served as a direct placement in the Clark County Community Corrections and is given credit for forty-two (42) actual days good time credit."[2] Id. at 28.

         [¶5] On January 24, 2017, Flowers's counsel filed a Notice of Withdrawal of Public Defender. On January 26, 2017, the court held a hearing[3] at which it stated, "I think that you entered, placed you back on the, to Community Corrections, " and "[f]or some reason, Judge, I was out, Judge South has not been back to sign an order. I went ahead and signed it." Id. at 29. The court informed Flowers "this is a zero tolerance policy, " and Flowers stated that he understood. Id. The court also told Flowers that it was sending him to the community corrections program.[4]

         [¶6] In a letter dated January 31, 2017, Clark County Community Corrections Director Lindon Dodd wrote to the trial court informing it that the Clark County Community Corrections "feels that . . . Flowers no longer qualifies to be in this program" and that "[t]here are numerous violations and other actions that I feel justified denying him to return to Community Corrections." Appellant's Appendix Volume II at 226. Director Dodd requested that Flowers not be returned to the program.

         [¶7] On February 2, 2017, Flowers filed a letter with the court which stated in part:

On 1-30-17 I had Jerry from "Jerry's Place" to speak with [Director Dodd] of the Clark County [Community] Corrections and was told [Director Dodd] was going to go against the court order and not allow [me] to return or be placed in the Clark County [Community] Corrections on house arrest because he has personal reasons for Director [Dodd] not to let me out of jail.
I Michael Flowers am asking the Clark County Circuit Court to be brought before this court again for a[] possible alternative placement of probation over that [Community] Corrections.
An[d] to be brought before the Clark County Circuit Court an[d] be told why [Director Dodd] of the Clark County [Community] Corrections can refuse a court order that was signed on 1-26-17 because of personal reasons.
And if I can be released until this matter is brought before your court I am being illegally detained in the Clark County ...

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