Estrada v. State

Decision Date22 June 2012
Docket NumberNo. 20A03–1110–CR–474.,20A03–1110–CR–474.
Citation969 N.E.2d 1032
PartiesKarla P. ESTRADA, Appellant–Defendant, v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee–Plaintiff.
CourtIndiana Appellate Court

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Scott H. Duerring, Marielena Duerring, Duerring Law Offices, South Bend, IN, Attorneys for Appellant.

Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana, Ian McLean, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

OPINION

GARRARD, Senior Judge.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Karla P. Estrada appeals her convictions and aggregate twenty-four-year sentence for two counts of Class B felony armed robbery as an accomplice and one count of Class C felony conspiracy to commit robbery. We affirm.

ISSUES

Estrada presents four issues, which we reorder and restate as:

I. Whether the trial court abused its discretion by denying her motion to dismiss.

II. Whether the trial court abused its discretion by admitting her statement to police into evidence.

III. Whether her conspiracy conviction violates Indiana's double jeopardy prohibition.

IV. Whether her twenty-four-year sentence is inappropriate.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY1

In the early morning hours of May 2, 2009, seventeen-year-old Estrada asked Luis Torres, Diego Gonzalez, and Jorge Ochoa for help. She told them that she needed money to send to her cousins in Texas. Torres suggested that they rob a gas station, and everyone agreed.

Estrada drove Torres, Gonzalez, and Ochoa to the 7–Eleven on County Road 24 and State Road 19 in Elkhart County. Torres and Ochoa went into the store with their hoods up and masks on. Torres had a hand under his clothing as if he had a gun. Ochoa held a beer bottle by its neck like a club. Torres ordered, “Give me the fuckin' money.” Tr. p. 230. The store clerk opened both registers and handed Torres about $600. Torres and Ochoa ran to the car. Estrada drove them away.

In the car, the four decided to commit another robbery. About a half an hour after the first robbery, Estrada parked near the 7–Eleven on Old U.S. 20 and County Road 13 in Elkhart County. Torres and Gonzales went into the store with their hoods up and masks on. Torres had a beer bottle under his clothing as if he had a gun. Gonzalez had a beer bottle in his hand. Torres ordered, “Give me your fuckin' money, bitch.” Id. at 106. The store clerk opened a register and handed Gonzalez $300. Torres and Gonzalez ran to the car. Estrada drove them away.

In the car, Torres suggested that they go to a third location. About an hour later, Estrada parked near a Speedway gas station. Torres and Ochoa went into the store, but this time, they carried no weapons. Torres demanded money from the store clerk, who handed him $500. Torres and Ochoa ran to the car. Estrada drove to Torres's and Gonzalez's apartment, where the four split the money from all three robberies.

On May 8, 2009, the group committed a robbery at a Huck's gas station. On May 9, 2009, they committed a robbery at a different 7–Eleven. Each time, the males entering the store had their hands under their clothing as if they had weapons, but no weapons were seen.

The robberies went unsolved until around February 2010, when Torres was arrested in Noble County for illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor. While being booked into jail, Torres, drunk, told an officer that he had been involved in several robberies. Detective Mitch Hershberger from the Goshen Police Department later spoke with Torres, who implicated himself, Estrada, Gonzalez, and Ochoa in the robberies.

Detective Hershberger went to Estrada's place of employment, told Estrada that her name had come up in connection with an incident, and asked her to accompany him to the police station. Detective Hershberger then called Estrada's home and requested that her parents or guardian meet them at the station.

Estrada's mother Patricia Estrada arrived with Edwin Cerone, a man she identified as her husband. Because Patricia spoke Spanish but no English, Detective Hershberger asked Officer Mario Mora, who was fluent in Spanish, to translate. Officer Mora brought with him a juvenile advisement of rights form that had been translated into Spanish. The form contained two sections: the top of the form listed each of the juvenile's rights, and the bottom of the form consisted of a paragraph acknowledging and waiving the juvenile's rights as well as a space for the juvenile and his or her parent or guardian to sign the waiver. Officer Mora read off each right listed on the form. He then asked Patricia and Cerone if they wanted to talk with Estrada. Patricia said no. Officer Mora then handed the form to Cerone, who gave it to Patricia, who gave it to Estrada. Patricia asked if she should sign the form, and Officer Mora responded that she needed to read it. Estrada read the waiver paragraph at the bottom of the form to Patricia while Patricia looked at the form over Estrada's shoulder. Estrada and Patricia then signed the waiver. Estrada said that she understood everything and told Patricia that she was going to talk with Detective Hershberger. Officer Mora again asked Patricia if she wanted to talk with Estrada. Patricia said no. During the interview, Estrada admitted that she knew Torres, Gonzalez, and Ochoa and that she had been involved in the Speedway robbery. Even though the Speedway robbery did not involve any weapons, Estrada stated that a bottle was used.

In March 2010, the State filed a delinquency petition against Estrada for three counts of Class C felony robbery if committed by an adult. The petition covered the last three robberies, where no weapons were seen: the Speedway robbery on May 2, 2009, the Huck's robbery on May 8, 2009, and the 7–Eleven robbery on May 9, 2009. Estrada admitted to the allegations and was adjudicated a delinquent.

In May 2010, the State charged Estrada with two counts of Class B felony armed robbery as an accomplice based on the first two robberies. Ind.Code §§ 35–42–5–1 (1984), 35–41–2–4 (1977). The State also charged her with one count of Class C felony conspiracy. Ind.Code § 35–41–5–2 (1977). Estrada filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that her adult criminal prosecution was barred by her juvenile adjudications on the three other robberies. After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion.

During the course of her jury trial in August 2011, Estrada filed a motion to suppress her statement to Detective Hershberger. After a hearing outside the presence of the jury, the trial court denied the motion. When the trial continued, Estrada's statement was admitted over objection. The jury found Estrada guilty of all three charges, and the trial court later sentenced her to an aggregate term of twenty-four years. Estrada now appeals.

DISCUSSION AND DECISION
I. MOTION TO DISMISS

Estrada first challenges the trial court's denial of her motion to dismiss. We review a trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss for an abuse of discretion. Allen v. State, 956 N.E.2d 195, 196 (Ind.Ct.App.2011). An abuse of discretion occurs when the decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances or when the trial court has misinterpreted the law. Id. at 196–97. We may affirm a trial court's judgment if it is sustainable on any basis in the record. Benham v. State, 637 N.E.2d 133, 138 (Ind.1994) (affirming trial court's denial of motion to dismiss on different basis than trial court).

Estrada contends that the trial court should have granted her motion to dismiss because the charges were barred by Indiana Code section 35–41–4–4 (1977), the successive prosecution statute, which provides in relevant part:

(a) A prosecution is barred if all of the following exist:

(1) There was a former prosecution of the defendant for a different offense or for the same offense based on different facts.

(2) The former prosecution resulted in an acquittal or a conviction of the defendant or in an improper termination under section 3 of this chapter.

(3) The instant prosecution is for an offense with which the defendant should have been charged in the former prosecution.

Specifically, Estrada argues that she was subjected to a juvenile proceeding for the last three robberies, that the proceeding resulted in juvenile adjudications for what would be Class C felony robbery if committed by an adult, and that the criminal charges here are for offenses that should have been charged in the juvenile proceeding. The State responds that the successive prosecution statute does not apply because juvenile proceedings are civil matters and do not result in criminal convictions.

We need not decide whether Indiana Code section 35–41–4–4 applies to juvenile proceedings to resolve the issue before us. Assuming without deciding that it does, subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2) appear to be satisfied. However, Estrada must show that subsection (a)(3) has been met, that is, that the two counts of Class B felony armed robbery and one count of Class C felony conspiracy “should have been charged” in the juvenile delinquency petition.

This brings us to a question of subject matter jurisdiction. Subject matter jurisdiction concerns whether a court has jurisdiction over the general class of actions to which a particular case belongs. Truax v. State, 856 N.E.2d 116, 121–22 (Ind.Ct.App.2006). Subject matter jurisdiction must be derived from the Constitution or statute and cannot be conferred by the consent or agreement of the parties. Id. at 122.

Pursuant to Indiana Code section 31–30–1–4 (2008), a juvenile court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over certain offenses if the juvenile was sixteen years of age or older at the time of the alleged violation:

(a) The juvenile court does not have jurisdiction over an individual for an alleged violation of:

(1) IC 35–41–5–1(a) (attempted murder);

(2) IC 35–42–1–1 (murder);

(3) IC 35–42–3–2 (kidnapping);

(4) IC 35–42–4–1 (rape);

(5) IC 35–42–4–2 (criminal deviate conduct);

(6) IC 35–42–5–1 (robbery) if:

(A) the robbery was committed while armed with a deadly...

To continue reading

Request your trial
11 cases
  • Johnson v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • August 19, 2022
    ...has misinterpreted the law. We may affirm a trial court's judgment if it is sustainable on any basis in the record. Estrada v. State , 969 N.E.2d 1032, 1038 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012) (internal citations omitted), trans. denied. When, as here, a defendant has filed a motion to dismiss a criminal ......
  • Study v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • February 4, 2015
    ...is reviewed only for an abuse of discretion. Gilliland v. State, 979 N.E.2d 1049, 1058 (Ind.Ct.App.2012) (quoting Estrada v. State, 969 N.E.2d 1032, 1038 (Ind.Ct.App.2012) ). However, “[w]e review a matter of statutory interpretation de novo because it presents a question of law.” Sloan v. ......
  • Zieman v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • June 25, 2013
    ...Lee v. State, 892 N.E.2d 1231, 1234 (Ind.2008) (quoting Spivey v. State, 761 N.E.2d 831, 832 (Ind.2002)); see also Estrada v. State, 969 N.E.2d 1032, 1044 (Ind.Ct.App.2012), trans. denied. “In determining the facts used by the fact-finder to establish the elements of each offense, it is app......
  • Bocanegra v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • June 22, 2012
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT