Brian L. Paquette, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff
from the Pike Circuit Court, No. 63C01-1602-F3-73 The
Honorable Jeffrey L. Biesterveld, Judge
Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT, BRIAN PAQUETTE Mark A. Bates
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE, STATE OF INDIANA Curtis T. Hill, Jr.
Attorney General of Indiana Tyler Banks Deputy Attorney
General Indianapolis, Indiana
February 12, 2016, while under the influence of
methamphetamine and purportedly believing he was being chased
by farmers through a field, Brian Paquette attempted to flee
from police by traveling the wrong way on I-69 near
Petersburg, Indiana. This initiated a chain-reaction crash
that claimed the lives of three victims, one of whom was
pregnant, and severely injured a fourth.
the three deceased victims, Paquette was charged with three
counts of resisting law enforcement by fleeing in a vehicle
causing death, a Level 3 felony; three counts of operating a
vehicle with methamphetamine in his blood causing death, a
Level 4 felony; and three counts of reckless homicide, a
Level 5 felony. Paquette was also charged with operating a
vehicle with methamphetamine in his blood causing serious
bodily injury and possession of methamphetamine, both Level 6
agreed to plead guilty to all charges but argued that,
because he engaged in only one act of resisting, the trial
court could enter a Level 3 felony resisting-causing-death
conviction as to only one of the deceased victims. The trial
court ruled against Paquette on this issue and entered
convictions on all three Level 3 felony counts and the Level
6 felony operating-causing-injury count. It sentenced him to
16 years on each Level 3 felony and to two and a half years
on the Level 6 felony, to be served
Paquette's first appeal, we held that the resisting law
enforcement statute, Indiana Code section 35-44.1-3-1, does
not contemplate multiple convictions when multiple victims
are killed as a result of a single incident of resisting.
Paquette v. State, 101 N.E.3d 234 (Ind. 2018)
("Paquette I"). Accordingly, we remanded
with instructions to vacate two of the three Level 3 felony
resisting-causing-death convictions. But because the statute
for operating causing death does explicitly allow
for multiple convictions arising from a single act, we
instructed the trial court to "enter convictions under
that statute for all victims and … sentence
accordingly." 101 N.E.3d at 242.
remand, the trial court entered separate convictions and
sentences on all three Level 3 felony counts but merged the
second and third counts into the first count. The trial court
also entered convictions on all three Level 4 felony counts.
By imposing sentences of 12 years each for the Level 3 felony
and the three Level 4 felonies, to run consecutively with the
two-and-a-half year sentence for possession of
methamphetamine, the trial court reached the same total
sentence as before: 50 and a half years.
Paquette's appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed in part
and remanded. Paquette v. State, No. 18A-CR-3072,
2019 WL 2203251 (Ind.Ct.App. May 22, 2019)
II correctly notes that double jeopardy principles
prevent the entry of a Level 4 felony operating-causing-death
conviction and a Level 3 felony resisting-causing-death
conviction as to the same victim. But, citing the remand
instructions in Paquette I, the Court of Appeals did
not vacate one of the three Level 4 felony convictions.
Instead, it instructed the trial court to vacate the single
remaining Level 3 felony conviction and enter a conviction
for the Level 6 felony offense of resisting law enforcement
by fleeing in a vehicle-"a count of resisting law
enforcement that is not enhanced for causing
a death." 2019 WL 2203251 at *3 (emphasis in original).
response to Paquette's petition to transfer, the State
agrees that the Court of Appeals' efforts to correct this
double jeopardy violation misconstrued Paquette I by
vacating the Level 3 felony conviction instead of one of the
three Level 4 felony convictions.
grant transfer, thereby vacating the Court of Appeals
decision, Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A), and remand for the trial
court to impose judgment of conviction for the following: one
count of Level 3 felony resisting law enforcement causing
death; two counts of Level 4 felony operating causing death;
and one ...