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Ward v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

November 9, 2018

Anthony Ward, Sr., Appellant-Defendant,
v.
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Allen Superior Court The Honorable John F. Surbeck, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 02D06-1803-F5-93

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Donald C. Swanson, Jr. Deputy Public Defender Fort Wayne, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Lyubov Gore Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          NAJAM, JUDGE.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Anthony Ward, Sr. appeals his sentence following his guilty plea to auto theft, as a Level 5 felony. He raises a single issue for our review, namely, whether the trial court abused its discretion when it sentenced him.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] On March 20, 2018, Officer A. Maurer with the Fort Wayne Police Department escorted Ward out of a liquor store. Later that day, Ward stole a vehicle from the parking lot of the same liquor store. The owner of the vehicle, Decarla Davis, witnessed Ward enter her vehicle and drive away while she was inside the store. Davis then contacted the police to report that her car had been stolen. Officer Maurer responded to the call. Once he arrived, Davis described Ward to Officer Maurer. And an employee of the liquor store told Officer Maurer that the person who had stolen Davis' vehicle was the same person who Officer Maurer had escorted off of the property earlier in the day.

         [¶4] Soon thereafter, officers located Davis' vehicle in a driveway. The officers saw Ward and ordered him to stop, but he did not. Rather, he entered a residence. Officers then pursued Ward into the residence where they arrested him. The officers were able to recover the keys to Davis' vehicle from inside the residence. Davis, who had arrived at the scene, was able to identify Ward as the man who had stolen her vehicle.

         [¶5] On March 26, the State charged Ward with one count of auto theft, as a Level 5 felony ("Count 1"), and one count of resisting law enforcement, as a Class A misdemeanor ("Count 2"). On May 7, Ward pleaded guilty as charged. The trial court accepted Ward's guilty plea and sentenced him to the advisory sentence of three years executed in the Department of Correction for Count 1 and one year executed for Count 2. Then, based on Ward's "extraordinary criminal history," trial court ordered the sentences to run consecutively, for an aggregate sentence of four years. Tr. Vol. II at 10. This appeal ensued.

         Discussion and Decision

         [¶6] Ward contends that the trial court abused its discretion when it sentenced him on his Level 5 felony conviction because it did not enter a sentencing statement.[1] Indiana Code Section 35-38-1-1.3 (2018) provides: "After a court has pronounced a sentence for a felony conviction, the court shall issue a statement of the court's reasons for selecting the sentence that it imposes unless the court imposes the advisory sentence for the felony." (Emphasis added.) Accordingly, under the plain language of the statute, a trial court is not required to issue a sentencing statement where, as here, it imposes the advisory sentence for a felony conviction.

         [¶7] Again, Ward pleaded guilty to auto theft, as a Level 5 felony. The sentencing range for a Level 5 felony is one year to six years, with an advisory sentence of three years. I.C. ยง 35-50-2-6(b). The trial court sentenced Ward to the advisory sentence of three years. Because the trial court sentenced Ward to the advisory sentence for his ...


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