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Miller v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 14, 2018

Christopher J. Miller, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff

          Appeal 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 Indianapolis, Indiana

          Altice, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] 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).

         [¶2] We affirm.

         Facts & Procedural History

         [¶3] 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.

         [¶4] 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.

         [¶5] 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.

         [¶6] 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.

         Discussion & Decision

         [¶7] 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. ...


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