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Jackson v. State

Supreme Court of Indiana

August 24, 2018

Marquell M. Jackson, Appellant (Defendant),
State of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff).

          Argued: March 22, 2018

          Appeal from the Vanderburgh Circuit Court, No. 82C01-1510-F1-006686 The Honorable Kelli E. Fink, Magistrate

          On Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 82A04-1609-CR-02074

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Matthew J. McGovern Anderson, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Justin F. Roebel Supervising Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana


          GOFF, JUSTICE

         A jury found that Defendant Marquell M. Jackson committed several criminal offenses in connection with a criminal gang. As a result, the trial court increased his overall sentence by thirty years according to the criminal gang enhancement statute. Jackson appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed the enhancement. Jackson and the State now dispute the extent of the trial court's sentencing authority on remand. This appeal requires us to determine what, if any, ability a trial court has to resentence a criminal defendant on the felonies that underlie a criminal gang enhancement when an appellate court has reversed that enhancement and remanded to the trial court. Guided by a general inquiry into the relationship between an enhancement and its underlying offenses, we find that the criminal gang enhancement statute unambiguously increases the punishment for all the felonies that underlie the enhancement, and vacating such an enhancement disturbs the punishment originally imposed. As such, after an appellate court reverses a criminal gang enhancement, the trial court on remand must resentence a defendant on all surviving underlying felonies.

         Factual and Procedural History

         On October 26, 2015, Jackson and four friends decided to rob a person they thought had marijuana. Armed with two guns, they drove to the person's apartment building. Four members of the group, including Jackson, entered the building, made their way to the apartment, and encountered a group of about ten people smoking marijuana. A gunfight broke out, and the would-be thieves fled. All told, three of the intruders, one of the occupants of the apartment, and a neighbor's brother were injured in the shooting.

         The State ultimately charged Jackson with nine offenses: two counts of burglary, as Level 1 felonies (Counts 1 and 2); one count of attempted robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, as a Level 2 felony (Count 3); four counts of attempted armed robbery, as Level 3 felonies (Counts 4, 5, 6, and 7); and two counts of aggravated battery, as Level 3 felonies (Counts 8 and 9). The State also sought to have Jackson's potential sentence enhanced under the criminal gang enhancement statute. See Ind. Code § 35-50-2-15 (2014 Repl.).[1] After a bifurcated trial, the jury found Jackson guilty as charged and that the enhancement applied to each count. The trial court merged Count 2 with Count 1 but otherwise entered judgments of conviction on each count and accepted the jury's finding as to the enhancement. The court ordered that Jackson serve concurrent sentences of thirty years for Count 1, seventeen-and-one-half years for Count 3, and nine years each for Counts 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. It then applied the statutory enhancement of thirty years to Jackson's sentence, which resulted in a sixty-year overall sentence.

         Jackson appealed and argued, among other things, that the trial court committed fundamental error when it allowed the State to amend the information for the criminal gang enhancement. The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the enhancement. Jackson v. State, 84 N.E.3d 706, 711- 14 (Ind.Ct.App.) ("Jackson I"), clarified on reh'g, 88 N.E.3d 1106 (Ind.Ct.App. 2017) ("Jackson II"). It instructed the trial court on remand to "vacate the enhancement and the sentence imposed on it." Id. at 714.

         Both Jackson and the State petitioned the Court of Appeals for rehearing seeking clarification of the remand order. Jackson sought clarification instructing the trial court that it could not resentence him on the offenses underlying the vacated enhancement, and the State, in relevant part, requested that the clarification explicitly allow the trial court to resentence on those underlying offenses. The Court of Appeals granted the petitions and compared the criminal gang enhancement statute with the habitual offender enhancement statute and Coble v. State, 523 N.E.2d 228 (Ind. 1988), a case involving a vacated habitual offender enhancement. Jackson II, 88 N.E.3d at 1108-1110. Based on this comparison, it found that "nothing about the trial court's imposition of the underlying sentence, or the convictions on which the underlying sentence is imposed, required that the trial court consider the criminal gang enhancement." Id. at 1110. Therefore, it concluded, "the underlying sentence imposed by the trial court on Jackson's convictions is not subject to change on remand." Id.

         We granted the State's petition to transfer to address the trial court's sentencing authority on remand after vacating the criminal gang enhancement, thereby vacating the Court of Appeals opinions in part. See Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A). We summarily affirm the Court of Appeals on the other issues addressed in Jackson I and Jackson II. See App. R. 58(A)(2).

         Standard ...

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