Johnson v. State, 22A-CR-596

Citation22A-CR-596
Case DateSeptember 21, 2022
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Brandon Lawrence Johnson, Appellant-Defendant
v.

State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

No. 22A-CR-596

Court of Appeals of Indiana

September 21, 2022


Pursuant to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D), this Memorandum Decision shall not be regarded as precedent or cited before any court except for the purpose of establishing the defense of res judicata, collateral estoppel, or the law of the case.

Appeal from the Orange Circuit Court The Honorable Steven Owen, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 59C01-1602-F4-160

Attorney for Appellant

Stacy R. Uliana

Bargersville, Indiana

Attorneys for Appellee

Theodore E. Rokita

Attorney General of Indiana

J.T. Whitehead

Deputy Attorney General

Indianapolis, Indiana

MEMORANDUM DECISION

Pyle, Judge.

1

Statement of the Case

[¶1] Brandon Johnson ("Johnson") appeals the trial court's denial of his petition to modify his sentence. He argues that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his petition. Concluding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Johnson's petition, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

[¶2] We affirm.

Issue

Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it denied Johnson's petition to modify his sentence.

Facts

[¶3] In February 2016, the State charged Johnson, in Cause Number 59C01-1602-F4-160 ("Cause 160"), with Level 4 felony dealing in methamphetamine, Level 5 felony possession of methamphetamine, and Class B misdemeanor false informing. The State also alleged that Johnson was an habitual offender. Johnson was on probation for a prior conviction at the time the State filed the charges in Cause 160.

[¶4] In October 2016, while Johnson was out on bond in Cause 160, the State charged him with Level 6 felony possession of methamphetamine, Level 6 felony unlawful possession of a syringe, Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and Class B misdemeanor visiting a common nuisance in Cause

2

Number 59C01-1610-F6-1117 ("Cause 1117"). The charges were based on crimes that Johnson had allegedly committed while out on bond in Cause 160.

[¶5] Two weeks later, while Johnson was still out on bond in Cause 160, the State charged him with Level 6 felony possession of methamphetamine, Level 6 felony unlawful possession of a syringe, Level 6 felony maintaining a common nuisance, Level 6 felony possession of a legend drug, and Class A misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in Cause Number 59C01-1610-F6-1188 ("Cause 1188"). These charges were also based on crimes that Johnson had allegedly committed while out on bond in Cause 160.

[¶6] In April 2017, pursuant to a plea agreement, Johnson pleaded guilty to Level 4 felony dealing methamphetamine in Cause 160. In exchange for Johnson's guilty plea, the State dismissed the additional felony and misdemeanor charges and habitual offender allegation in Cause 160, the two felony and two misdemeanor charges in Cause 1117, and the one misdemeanor and four felony charges in Cause 1188. The plea agreement left sentencing for the Level 4 felony to the trial court's discretion. Following a May 2017 sentencing hearing, the trial court sentenced Johnson to twelve (12) years in the Department of Correction ("the DOC").

[¶7] In 2018, Johnson filed a motion to file a belated appeal, which the trial court granted. In his appeal, Johnson argued that his twelve-year sentence was inappropriate based on the nature of the offense and his character. Johnson v. State, 59C01-1602-F4-160 at *4 (Ind.Ct.App. Dec. 29, 2020), trans. denied.

3

Regarding the nature of the offense, we noted that for an unspecified time period, Johnson had driven to Louisville every day to purchase at least one-half ounce of methamphetamine. Id. at *6. Further, two days before he had been arrested in this case, Johnson had driven to Indianapolis and had purchased eight grams of methamphetamine. Id. Johnson had also sold one gram of methamphetamine shorty before the traffic stop that had led to his arrest in this case. Id. In addition, although Johnson had been convicted of only one count of dealing methamphetamine, Johnson had admitted that before his arrest, he had been engaged in activities related to dealing for several days and had sold a significant amount of methamphetamine. Id.

[¶8] Regarding Johnson's character, we noted that Johnson had a criminal history that dated back fifteen years and included drug-related charges such as possession of illegal substances and paraphernalia and...

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