from the Clark Circuit Court The Honorable Vicki Carmichael,
Judge Trial Court Cause No. 10C04-1712-XP-97
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Bruce A. Brightwell New Albany,
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Angela N. Sanchez Deputy Attorney General
Alan Lee Berryman appeals the trial court's denial of his
petition to expunge the record of a case in which a jury
found him not responsible by reason of insanity
("NRRI"). Berryman raises one issue on appeal,
whether a judgment of NRRI is a "conviction" as the
term is used in Indiana Code section 35-38-9-1. We affirm.
and Procedural History
On November 3, 2001, Berryman approached a man and his wife
in a mall parking lot. State v. Berryman, 796 N.E.2d
741, 742 (Ind.Ct.App. 2003), opinion aff'd in part,
vacated in part, 801 N.E.2d 170 (Ind. 2004). Berryman
grabbed the man and accused him of trying to "set
up" Berryman. Id. Berryman then shot and killed
the man. Id. On November 7, 2001, the State charged
Berryman with murder. A jury found Berryman not responsible by
reason of insanity, so the court entered a judgment of NRRI.
Subsequently, the court involuntarily committed Berryman to a
state hospital. In re Commitment of Berryman, 797
N.E.2d 820, 822 (Ind.Ct.App. 2003).
On an undisclosed date thereafter, Berryman was released from
his commitment, and he filed a Petition to Expunge/Seal
Records pursuant to Indiana Code section 35-38-9-1 in late
2017. The State filed an objection, and the trial court held
a hearing on June 14, 2018. On July 17, 2018, the trial court
issued an order denying Berryman's
petition. Berryman filed a motion to correct error
on August 8, 2018. Pursuant to Trial Rule 53.3, the motion
was deemed denied on September 24, 2018.
Indiana Code section 35-38-9-1 allows an individual arrested
for a crime, but not convicted, to seek expungement of the
records related to the arrest and charge. The statute applies
"to a person who has been arrested, charged with an
offense, or alleged to be a delinquent child, if: (1) the
arrest, criminal charge, or juvenile delinquency allegation:
(A) did not result in a conviction or juvenile
adjudication." Ind. Code § 35-38-9-1(a) (emphasis
added). If the petitioner satisfies the conditions listed in
the statute and does not have any pending criminal charges,
the court "shall grant the petition." Ind. Code
§ 35-38-9-1(e). Berryman argues his NRRI judgment is not
a "conviction" because it does not result in
criminal punishment and, therefore, the plain language of
Indiana Code section 35-38-9-1 requires the court to grant
While the question Berryman presents about Indiana Code
section 35-38-9-1 is one of first-impression in Indiana, our
standard for reviewing this class of questions is well
settled. "Statutory interpretation is a question of law
reserved for the court and is reviewed de novo.
De novo review allows us to decide an issue without
affording any deference to the trial court's
decision." Shaffer v. State, 795 N.E.2d 1072,
1076 (Ind.Ct.App. 2003) (internal citation omitted).
Consequently, "the express language of the statute and
the rules of statutory interpretation apply. We will examine
the statute as a whole, and [we] avoid excessive reliance on
a strict literal meaning or the selective reading of
words." Nash v. State, 881 N.E.2d 1060, 1063
(Ind.Ct.App. 2008) (internal citation omitted), trans.
denied. If the statute's language is clear and
unambiguous, we apply the clear language of the statute.
At issue is the meaning of the term "conviction" in
Indiana Code section 35-38-9-1 and, as former Chief Justice
Shepard explained, "[t]he word 'conviction' is
not a term of art, and its multiple definitions create some
confusion." Carter v. State, 750 N.E.2d 778,
779 (Ind. 2001) (holding, in the double jeopardy context, a
conviction is a court judgment, not a jury verdict).
Unfortunately, the legislature did not define
"conviction" in Indiana Code section 35-38-9-1 or
elsewhere in Title 35 of the Indiana Code. When the
legislature has not provided the meaning of a term in a
statute, we may consult English dictionaries to determine a
word's plain and ordinary meaning. Naugle v. Beech
Grove City Schools, 864 N.E.2d 1058, 1068 (Ind. 2007).
Black's Law Dictionary defines "conviction" as:
"1. The act or process of judicially finding someone
guilty of a crime; the state of having been proved guilty. 2.
The judgment (as by a jury verdict) that a person is guilty
of a crime." Conviction, Black's Law
Dictionary (10th ed. 2014) (emphases in original).
Webster's Dictionary defines "conviction" as
"the act of proving, finding, or adjudging a person
guilty of an offense or crime." Conviction,
Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the
English Language Unabridged (1st ed. 1976); see also
Conviction, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (available
webster.com/dictionary/conviction) ("the act or process
of finding a person guilty of a crime especially in a court
of law") (last visited May 17, 2019). Thus, in common
vernacular, "conviction" is used to mean either a
finding of guilt of a crime or a court judgment that leads to
Where, as here, there is more than one reasonable
interpretation of a term in a statute, we must construe the
statute to give effect to the General Assembly's intent.
See Nash, 881 N.E.2d at 1063. We presume the
legislature intends for "the language used in the
statute to be applied logically and not to bring about an
absurd or unjust result." Id. Therefore,
"we must keep in mind the ...