Christopher J. Miller, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
from the Marshall Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
50D01-1607-F3-24 The Honorable Robert O. Bowen, Judge.
Attorney for Appellant Alexander L. Hoover Nappanee, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Henry A. Flores, Jr. Deputy Attorney General
Following a bench trial, Christopher Miller was convicted of
Level 5 felony domestic battery resulting in serious bodily
injury and sentenced to six years in prison. On appeal,
Miller argues that his sentence is inappropriate because the
trial court did not recommend purposeful incarceration at the
Indiana Department of Correction (DOC).
& Procedural History
On July 21, 2017, Christopher Miller resided with his
72-year-old father, Lawrence, in Marshall County, Indiana.
Miller arrived home around 6:30 p.m., and Lawrence observed
that Miller was intoxicated. Miller fixed something to eat
and then went downstairs. He eventually ventured back
upstairs and asked his father where the keys to his
father's vehicle were located. When Lawrence replied he
did not know, Miller became visibly unsettled. Miller then
went back downstairs to look for the keys.
Shortly thereafter, while Lawrence was standing at the
kitchen sink, Miller came up behind Lawrence and threw him to
the ground. The next thing Lawrence remembered was being on
the ground with Miller on top of him, "choking"
him. Transcript Vol. II at 23. Miller asked him,
"do you want to live or die." Id. at 23.
While Lawrence did not lose consciousness, he did have
difficulty breathing. After the altercation, Lawrence left
the house to seek help.
Officers Jordan Rans and Travis Oneal of the Plymouth Police
Department ere dispatched. When the officers encountered
Lawrence, Officer Rans observed that Lawrence had a
laceration above his right eye and that the eye was swollen
shut. He also had a bruised and swollen right hand, as well
as a ripped and bloodied shirt. Lawrence advised the officers
he had been attacked and strangled by Miller. As a result of
the battery, Lawrence suffered a fracture to his orbital
socket that required surgery, a fracture to his hand, a
laceration above his eye that required stiches, and
contusions on his hand.
The State charged Miller with Level 3 felony aggravated
battery and Level 5 felony domestic battery resulting in
serious bodily injury. The trial court found Miller guilty of
the Level 5 felony. The trial court sentenced him to the
maximum term of six years executed in the DOC. See
Ind. Code § 35-59-2-6. Miller now appeals. Additional
facts will be provided as necessary.
This court has the constitutional authority to revise a
sentence authorized by statute if, "after due
consideration of the trial court's decision, " we
find that the sentence imposed is inappropriate in light of
the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.
See Ind. Appellate Rule 7(B). The question under
App. R. 7(B) is "not whether another sentence is more
appropriate" but rather "whether the sentence
imposed is inappropriate." King v. State, 894
N.E.2d 265, 268 (Ind.Ct.App. 2008). The burden is on the
defendant to persuade the appellate court that his sentence
is inappropriate. Childress v. State, 848 N.E.2d
1073, 1080 (Ind. ...