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Threatt v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

June 18, 2018

Marcus T. Threatt, Jr., Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Floyd Superior Court. The Honorable Susan L. Orth, Judge. Trial Court Cause No. 22D01-1512-MR-2296

          Attorney for Appellant Matthew J. McGovern Anderson, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana, Ellen H. Meilaender Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          SHEPARD, SENIOR JUDGE

         [¶1] Appellant Marcus Threatt was sentenced to twenty years with two and one-half years suspended upon his conviction of robbery, a Level 2 felony.[1] Concluding the sentence imposed by the trial court was not inappropriate, we affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] In December 2015, Threatt arranged that he and Keontez Malone would purchase marijuana from Threatt's friend Charlie Fischbach. Threatt and Malone planned to take the marijuana without paying for it. When the three men met for the transaction, Fischbach resisted and Malone shot him. Fischbach died.

         [¶3] Threatt was charged with murder[2] and dealing in marijuana, a Level 6 felony.[3] In an open plea, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of robbery as a Level 2 felony, and the State agreed to dismiss the marijuana charge. The trial court sentenced Threatt to twenty years with two and one-half years suspended to probation. He now appeals.

         Issue

         [¶4] Threatt presents one issue for our review: whether his sentence is inappropriate.

         Discussion and Decision

         [¶5] Although a trial court may have acted within its lawful discretion in imposing a sentence, article VII, sections 4 and 6 of the Indiana Constitution authorize independent appellate review and revision of sentences. Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) provides that we may revise a sentence if, after due consideration of the trial court's decision, we determine that the sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender. Thompson v. State, 5 N.E.3d 383 (Ind.Ct.App. 2014). However, "we must and should exercise deference to a trial court's sentencing decision, both because Rule 7(B) requires us to give 'due consideration' to that decision and because we understand and recognize the unique perspective a trial court brings to its sentencing decisions." Stewart v. State, 866 N.E.2d 858, 866 (Ind.Ct.App. 2007).

         [¶6] The principal role of appellate review under Rule 7(B) is to attempt to leaven the outliers, not to achieve a perceived "correct" result in each case. Garner v. State, 7 N.E.3d 1012 (Ind.Ct.App. 2014). In other words, the question under Appellate Rule 7(B) is not whether another sentence is more appropriate; rather, the question is whether the sentence imposed is inappropriate. King v. State, 894 N.E.2d 265 (Ind.Ct.App. 2008). The defendant bears the burden of persuading the appellate court that his or her sentence is inappropriate. Childress v. State, 848 N.E.2d 1073 (Ind. 2006).

         [¶7] To assess such a claim, we look first to the statutory range established for the class of the offense. Here, the offense is a Level 2 felony, for which the advisory sentence is seventeen and one-half years, with a minimum of ten and a maximum of thirty years. Ind. Code ยง 35-50-2-4.5 (2014). Although Threatt ...


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