Randy L. Thornton, Appellant-Plaintiff,
Matthew Pietrzak, Stephanie Buttz, Eric Lee, and Dianna Johnson,  Appellees-Defendants.
from the Marion Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
49D11-1402-PL-3833 The Honorable John F. Hanley, Judge The
Honorable Ian L. Stewart, Commissioner
Attorney for Appellant Michael Ghosh The Ghosh Law Office,
LLC Carmel, Indiana
Attorney for Appellees Matthew Pietrzak and Stephanie Buttz
Tara L. Gerber Office of Corporation Counsel Indianapolis,
Randy L. Thornton ("Thornton") appeals the trial
court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Matthew
Pietrzak ("Pietrzak"), Stephanie Buttz
("Buttz") (together, "Appellees"), Eric
Lee ("Lee"), and Dianna Johnson
("Johnson"), who are all probation
officers. Thornton raises the following restated
issue for our review: whether the trial court erred when it
granted summary judgment in favor of Appellees because they
are entitled to quasi-judicial immunity.
and Procedural History
In August 2006, Thornton pleaded guilty to Class C felony
possession of cocaine in Cause No. 49G20-0605-FC-81612
("Cause 81612"). He was sentenced by the Marion
Superior Court Criminal Division ("the sentencing
court") to six years with two years executed and four
years suspended. Appellant's App. Vol. 2 at 25,
65. The sentencing order ordered Thornton to serve two of
those suspended years on probation following the executed
portion of his sentence. Id. On August 6, 2007, the
sentencing court issued an order requiring Thornton to begin
his two-year probation period for the Class C Felony.
Id. at 27, 66.
On February 7, 2008, Thornton was sentenced to three years
executed in an unrelated case, Cause No. 49G06-0702-FA-28198
("Cause 28198"). Id. at 76-77. On April
15, 2008, Lee, who was a probation officer in the Marion
County Probation Department ("the probation
department"), wrote a memo to the sentencing court from
Cause No. 81612 that stated, in its entirety: "On
2-7-08, Mr. Thornton was given an executed sentence under
Cause  of 3 years. His Probation will resume under
Cause  when his executed portion is completed."
Id. at 65-66, 81. This memo was approved and signed
by Lee's supervisor, Johnson. Id. The sentencing
court did not take any action regarding this memo.
Id. at 86.
On August 20, 2010, Pietrzak, another probation officer,
filed a notice of probation violation, which was reviewed by
Buttz, another probation officer, and informed the sentencing
court that Thornton had been arrested and charged with a new
offense earlier that month. Id. at 27-28, 65-66, 91.
Pietrzak noted, as Lee and Johnson had noted in their April
2008 memo, that Thornton's probation in Cause 81612 had
been paused while he served time for his conviction in Cause
28198 and then resumed on April 5, 2010 upon completion of
his sentence for that conviction. Id. at 91.
Pietrzak's notice of probation violation stated in
pertinent part, "Mr. Thornton was continued on Probation
on 4/5/10 after serving an executed sentence on another
An evidentiary hearing was held on the probation violation on
February 10, 2011. At the hearing, Thornton argued that his
August 2010 arrest did not violate the terms of his probation
because his probation had ended in August 2009. Id.
at 67. The sentencing court rejected that argument, found
that Thornton had violated his probation, and ordered his
previously-suspended four-year sentence executed in the
Indiana Department of Correction. Id. at 28, 67.
While incarcerated, Thornton filed a motion to correct the
erroneous probation revocation and sentence. On May 10, 2012,
a hearing was held on Thornton's motion, and the
sentencing court vacated the February 10, 2011 revocation of
probation, stating in pertinent part:
The court being duly advised in the premises, the court sets
aside the revocation of defendant's probation due to the
fact that it's unclear whether the defendant's
probation was tolled during the serving of an unrelated
executed sentence. The court finding no case law on this
issue, the court construes the law against the state and in
favor of ...