Adams v. State, 031519 INCA, 18A-CR-1544

Docket Nº:18A-CR-1544
Opinion Judge:BARTEAU, SENIOR JUDGE.
Party Name:Chad E. Adams, Appellant-Defendant, v. State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
Attorney:Attorney for Appellant Brian A. Karle Ball Eggleston, PC Lafayette, Indiana Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Marjorie H. Lawyer-Smith Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana
Judge Panel:Najam, J., and Bailey, J., concur.
Case Date:March 15, 2019
Court:Court of Appeals of Indiana
 
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Chad E. Adams, Appellant-Defendant,

v.

State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

No. 18A-CR-1544

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 15, 2019

Appeal from the Tippecanoe Superior Court Cause No. 79D02-1708-F5-103 The Honorable Steven P. Meyer, Judge

Attorney for Appellant Brian A. Karle Ball Eggleston, PC Lafayette, Indiana

Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Marjorie H. Lawyer-Smith Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

BARTEAU, SENIOR JUDGE.

Statement of the Case

[¶1] Chad E. Adams appeals from his four-year aggregate sentence after pleading guilty to one count of Level 5 felony carrying a handgun with a prior felony, 1contending that the trial court improperly calculated his accrued time and that his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender. We affirm in part, reverse in part and remand with instructions.

Issues

[¶2] Adams presents the following restated issues for our review: I. Did the trial court improperly calculate Adams' accrued time by failing to recognize the time he spent in jail after his arrest and before posting bond later that same day?

II. Is Adams' sentence inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender?

Facts and Procedural History

[¶3] In June of 2017, Adams was living in an apartment with his girlfriend, Melissa Lagoy. Lagoy owned two vehicles and one of them was a van. The van did not have a valid license plate or registration and was not insured. No one had driven the van for several months prior to the date of the offense. Among the many things Lagoy kept in the locked van was a handgun placed under the driver's seat instead of in the apartment where children also lived. Another reason for the placement of the handgun was Adams' 2006 felony conviction for possession of marijuana which prevented him from legally possessing a firearm.

[¶4] On the evening of June 16, 2017, Adams was home when he received a call that Lagoy and a friend had car trouble and were stranded. Adams entered Lagoy's van and left in it to bring her home.

[¶5] Approximately two minutes after Adams began driving the van, a local police officer recognized him. The officer initiated a traffic stop because he knew that Adams did not have a valid driver's license. During the stop, the officer noticed the firearm under the driver's seat. Lagoy arrived on foot at the scene of the traffic stop and informed the officer that the firearm belonged to her.

[¶6] Adams was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm with a prior felony as a Level 5 felony along with other charges. Adams entered into a plea agreement pursuant to which he pleaded guilty to the Level 5 felony in exchange for dismissal of the other counts. After a hearing, the trial court sentenced Adams to an aggregate term of four years with one and a half years executed in the Indiana Department of Correction, one and a half years executed on community corrections, and one year of supervised probation. Adams now appeals.

Discussion and Decision

I. Calculation of Time

[¶7] Adams challenges the trial court's failure to recognize the time Adams spent in jail prior to sentencing. Adams was arrested and imprisoned in the county jail on June 17, 2017 and was confined, according to his statement made during a colloquy with the trial court at the sentencing hearing, for approximately six to eight hours before he was able to post bond. Tr. p. 27. His pre-sentence investigation report credits him with one actual jail day from June 17, 2017 to June 17, 2017. Appellant's App. Vol. 2, p. 62.

[¶8] Despite the recommendation in the pre-sentence investigation report and Adams' statement of the time he was confined prior to bonding out, the trial court refused to recognize one day of actual jail time because Adams had not been in jail for "twenty-four hours," which the court noted was its view of the law until notified of caselaw to the contrary. Tr. pp. 27-28.

[¶9] Without citation to authority, the State argues that "[a]lthough the award of credit is mandatory, it remains within the trial court's discretion to make the factual determination of whether the person in fact spent a day in prison before awarding the credit." Appellee's Br. p. 9. (emphasis added). The State's position is that this factual determination is reviewed for an abuse of discretion, citing Harding v. State, 27 N.E.3d 330, 331 (Ind.Ct.App. 2015). Additionally, the State contends that "[g]iven that the Defendant failed to establish the length of time he was actually in jail pending his release, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in not awarding Defendant credit time for one full day." Appellee's Br. pp. 9-10. (emphasis added). This argument is made despite Adams' statement at the sentencing hearing and the calculation included by probation in the pre-sentence investigation report. We also pause to observe that the applicable statute refers to time and not to days.

[¶10] "'Because...

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