Geans v. State, 20A05-9301-CR-002

Docket NºNo. 20A05-9301-CR-002
Citation623 N.E.2d 435
Case DateNovember 09, 1993
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 435

623 N.E.2d 435
Dennis Dewayne GEANS, Appellant-Defendant,
STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
No. 20A05-9301-CR-002.
Court of Appeals of Indiana,
Fifth District.
Nov. 9, 1993.

Page 436

Thomas A. Murto, Murto & Holbrook, Goshen, for appellant-defendant.

Pamela Carter, Atty. Gen., Cynthia L. Ploughe, Deputy Atty. Gen., Office of Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee-plaintiff.

RUCKER, Judge.

Dennis D. Geans was charged with three counts of Nonsupport of a Child, a Class D felony--one count for each of his three minor children. After a trial by jury Geans was convicted of all charges and received three consecutive eighteen month sentences. Geans now appeals raising three issues for our review which we restate as:

1) Whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain the convictions?

2) Whether Geans received effective assistance of counsel?

3) Whether the trial court erred in imposing sentences on each of the three counts?

We affirm.

The facts 1 most favorable to the judgment reveal that Pamela and Dennis Geans

Page 437

were married September 11, 1971 and divorced July 20, 1990. Pamela Geans was granted custody of the three minor children of the parties, Sean, Aubrea and Lindsay. Dennis Geans was granted the right of reasonable visitation and ordered to pay $199.00 a week in child support. For the first three months after the divorce Geans paid child support on a fairly consistent basis. However, for a nine month period from November, 1990 to July, 1991 he paid no child support. Thus, in August, 1991, Geans was charged with three separate counts of Nonsupport of a Child.

At trial, Geans' ex-wife testified that Geans did not pay child support as ordered by the court although he did purchase various items of clothing and toys for the three children. Geans' son Sean testified that Geans gave him small amounts of money, a pair of boots, and other clothing. Geans' daughter Aubrea testified that she received a dress from her father. Geans took the stand in his own defense and testified that he did not pay court ordered child support during the disputed period because he was unable to do so. Geans confirmed that he purchased various items of clothing for all three children. Geans was convicted as charged and this appeal ensued in due course.


Geans first contends the evidence is insufficient to support the convictions. According to Geans the State has failed to carry its burden and thus the conviction should be reversed.

Our standard of review for sufficiency of the evidence is well-settled. We will neither reweigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of witnesses. We examine only the evidence most favorable to the state along with all reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, and, if there is substantial evidence of probative value to support the conviction, it will not be set aside. Litel v. State (1988), Ind., 527 N.E.2d 1114.

The State appears to argue that Geans' failure to pay court ordered child support is sufficient to sustain the convictions. We cannot agree. "Support" in the context of a divorce proceeding is substantially different than "support" in the context of a criminal proceeding for Nonsupport of a Child. In the former it is strictly a matter of money, dollars and cents. The intentional nonpayment is punishable by contempt of court and could result in the violator's incarceration. See Ind.Code Sec. 31-1-11.5-13; Holman v. Holman (1985), Ind.App., 472 N.E.2d 1279. In the latter, money is not directly in issue. Rather, Ind.Code Sec. 35-46-1-1 clearly dictates " 'support' means food, clothing, shelter, or medical care." The distinction is critical.

There is no question that faced with a dissolution order to pay a sum certain in child support, a noncustodial parent cannot discharge that obligation by making voluntary financial contributions to the custodial parent, by paying support directly to the dependent child or by paying expenses for the dependent child. See Bendix v. Bendix (1990), Ind.App., 550 N.E.2d 825,...

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26 cases
  • Sickels v. State , 20A03–1102–CR–66.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 13 Marzo 2012
    ...least $10,000 to support each alleged Class C felony. See State v. Moore, 688 N.E.2d 917, 918 (Ind.Ct.App.1997); see also Geans v. State, 623 N.E.2d 435, 436–38 (Ind.Ct.App.1993) (Rucker, J.) (holding that the State could pursue a Class D felony conviction for each unsupported dependent). 4......
  • Sickels v. State, 20A03-1102-CR-66
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 6 Enero 2012
    ...$10,000 to support each alleged Class C felony. See State v. Moore, 688 N.E.2d 917, 918 (Ind. Ct. App. 1997); see also Geans v. State, 623 N.E.2d 435, 436-38 (Ind. Ct. App. 1993) (Rucker, J.) (holding that the State could pursue a Class D felony conviction for each unsupported dependent).4 ......
  • M. Stone v. State, 49A02-9603-CR-126
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 22 Octubre 1996
    ...element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt, we will not disturb the conviction. Moore, 637 N.E.2d at 821 (citing Geans v. State, 623 N.E.2d 435, 437 Page 504 Indiana Code 35-48-4-6 states: "A person who, without a valid prescription or order of a practitioner acting in the course of hi......
  • Wine v. State, 85A04-9311-PC-415
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • 28 Julio 1994
    ...presume that counsel's representation was within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance. Geans v. State (1993), Ind.App., 623 N.E.2d 435, The test to be applied when ineffective assistance of counsel is alleged is two-pronged. First, the defendant must prove that counsel's rep......
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