Abdullah v. State, No. 49A05-0505-CR-300.

Docket NºNo. 49A05-0505-CR-300.
Citation847 N.E.2d 1031
Case DateMay 25, 2006
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 1031

847 N.E.2d 1031
Bilal ABDULLAH, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
No. 49A05-0505-CR-300.
Court of Appeals of Indiana.
May 25, 2006.

David Becsey, Zeigler Cohen & Koch, Indianapolis, for Appellant.

Steve Carter, Attorney General of Indiana, Ryan D. Johanningsmeier, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, for Appellee.

OPINION

VAIDIK, Judge.


Case Summary

Bilal Abdullah appeals his conviction on one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and his habitual offender enhancement. Among other things, Abdullah contends that the trial court erred when it relied on an abstract of judgment lacking a judicial signature as support for its findings that Abdullah is a serious violent felon and a habitual offender. We agree with Abdullah on this point, and we hold that where an abstract of judgment is the only evidence before the court introduced to show that an offender has a prior conviction for purposes of proving his statuses as a serious violent

Page 1032

felon and as a habitual offender, Indiana Trial Rule 58 requires that the abstract be signed by the judge who ordered the conviction. Finding this issue dispositive, we vacate Abdullah's conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and the trial court's finding that he is a habitual offender.

Facts and Procedural History

On November 14, 2004, Indianapolis police officers attempted to stop a vehicle driven by Bilal Abdullah. After an officer activated his emergency lights, Abdullah briefly pulled to the side of the road, a passenger exited his vehicle, and the car then sped off. Two officers pursued Abdullah, who eventually jumped from the moving vehicle and fled on foot for about one block before being apprehended. As he was fleeing, Abdullah was carrying a blue gym bag, which he threw to the ground before his capture. Police recovered the bag and discovered that it contained a crowbar, screwdrivers, a change of clothes, and a loaded .38 caliber snubnosed handgun. Abdullah did not have a permit to carry the gun. Abdullah also was carrying an identification card listing his date of birth and social security number, and dispatch records indicated that Abdullah was formerly known as Montez Humphrey.1

Abdullah was arrested and eventually charged with Count I: Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon as a Class B Felony;2 Count II: Resisting Law Enforcement as a Class D Felony;3 Count III: Resisting Law Enforcement as a Class A Misdemeanor,4 and Count IV: Carrying a Handgun Without a License as a Class A Misdemeanor (Count IV, part one) or as a Class C Felony (Count IV, part two).5 The State later filed a notice of its intent to seek habitual offender status for Abdullah.6 Following a bench trial, Abdullah was found guilty of Counts I-III and Count IV, part two, and he was found to be a habitual offender. The trial judge further found Abdullah's criminal history to be an aggravator and the fact that incarceration would be a hardship on his children to be a mitigator. In balancing these factors, the judge found the aggravator to outweigh the mitigator. The trial court merged the conviction for carrying a handgun without a license into the unlawful possession conviction and sentenced Abdullah as follows:

As to Count One I am going to impose the presumptive sentence of 10 years. As to Count Two and Count Three, the resisting charges, I'm going to impose 1-year sentences on each count, and those counts will be served concurrently with the sentence under Count One. The enhancement is the major consideration.... I am going to impose a 30-year enhancement, but I will note that you've never received the benefit of probation as an adult, so I'm going to order that 10 years of that 30-year enhancement to be served consecutively to the term served under Count One. The remaining 20 years will be suspended and I will put you on probation for 10 years.

Tr. p. 76-77. This appeal now ensues.

Discussion and Decision

Abdullah raises several issues on appeal, one of which we find dispositive: whether a certified abstract of judgment lacking a

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judicial signature is sufficient to prove a defendant's prior conviction for purposes of proving that defendant's statuses as a serious violent felon and as a habitual offender.7 Abdullah is essentially arguing that the evidence is insufficient to support his conviction.

When reviewing a claim of sufficiency of the evidence, we neither reweigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of witnesses. Jones v. State, 783 N.E.2d 1132, 1139 (Ind.2003). We look only to the probative evidence supporting the judgment and the reasonable inferences from that evidence to determine whether a reasonable trier of fact could conclude the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. We will uphold the conviction if there is substantial evidence of probative value to support it. Id.

Pursuant to Indiana Code § 35-47-4-5(c), "[a] serious violent felon who knowingly or intentionally possesses a firearm commits unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, a Class B felony." A "serious violent felon" is defined as "a person who has been convicted of committing a serious violent felony in Indiana." Ind.Code § 35-47-4-5(a)(1)(A). The statute lists...

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11 practice notes
  • State v. Stewart, No. 20090572–CA.
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • June 9, 2011
    ...I disagree with the majority that a prior conviction can never be established without a signed judgment, cf., e.g., Abdullah v. State, 847 N.E.2d 1031, 1034 (Ind.Ct.App.2006) (“[T]here are numerous other means [besides a signed judgment] by which the State may elect to prove a prior convict......
  • Smith v. State, Court of Appeals Case No. 49A04-1608-PC-1953
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 30, 2016
    ...was ineffective for failing to cite to our opinions in Bochner v. State, 715 N.E.2d 416 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999) and Abdullah v. State, 847 N.E.2d 1031 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006), on direct appeal. Specifically, Smith claims that citation to each of these cases would have bolstered his argument that ......
  • Adcock v. State, No. 47A01–1407–PC–283.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 8, 2014
    ...to the conviction, there is insufficient evidence as a matter of law on an element of a crime. Id. at 946 ; see also Abdullah v. State, 847 N.E.2d 1031, 1035 (Ind.Ct.App.2006).6 The legislature has now replaced the phrase “deviate sexual conduct” with “other sexual conduct.” I.C. § 35–31.5–......
  • Coates v. State, No. 82A04–1207–CR–359.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 4, 2013
    ...named in the documents.Coker v. State, 455 N.E.2d 319, 322 (Ind.1983) (emphasis added and citations omitted). See Abdullah v. State, 847 N.E.2d 1031, 1034 (Ind.Ct.App.2006) (noting that “[p]rosecutors routinely admit a wide variety of readily-available evidence for this purpose, including b......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
11 cases
  • State v. Stewart, No. 20090572–CA.
    • United States
    • Utah Court of Appeals
    • June 9, 2011
    ...I disagree with the majority that a prior conviction can never be established without a signed judgment, cf., e.g., Abdullah v. State, 847 N.E.2d 1031, 1034 (Ind.Ct.App.2006) (“[T]here are numerous other means [besides a signed judgment] by which the State may elect to prove a prior convict......
  • Smith v. State, Court of Appeals Case No. 49A04-1608-PC-1953
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 30, 2016
    ...was ineffective for failing to cite to our opinions in Bochner v. State, 715 N.E.2d 416 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999) and Abdullah v. State, 847 N.E.2d 1031 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006), on direct appeal. Specifically, Smith claims that citation to each of these cases would have bolstered his argument that ......
  • Adcock v. State, No. 47A01–1407–PC–283.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • December 8, 2014
    ...to the conviction, there is insufficient evidence as a matter of law on an element of a crime. Id. at 946 ; see also Abdullah v. State, 847 N.E.2d 1031, 1035 (Ind.Ct.App.2006).6 The legislature has now replaced the phrase “deviate sexual conduct” with “other sexual conduct.” I.C. § 35–31.5–......
  • Coates v. State, No. 82A04–1207–CR–359.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • April 4, 2013
    ...named in the documents.Coker v. State, 455 N.E.2d 319, 322 (Ind.1983) (emphasis added and citations omitted). See Abdullah v. State, 847 N.E.2d 1031, 1034 (Ind.Ct.App.2006) (noting that “[p]rosecutors routinely admit a wide variety of readily-available evidence for this purpose, including b......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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