Lee v. State, 22A-CR-503

Case DateSeptember 21, 2022
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Janell M. Lee, Appellant-Defendant,

State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

No. 22A-CR-503

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 Miami Superior Court The Honorable Daniel C. Banina, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 52D02-2007-F5-202

Attorney for Appellant

Janet Lynn Wheeler

Hoover Hull Turner LLP

Indianapolis, Indiana

Attorneys for Appellee

Theodore E. Rokita

Attorney General of Indiana

Myriam Serrano

Deputy Attorney General

Indianapolis, Indiana


Robb, Judge.


Case Summary and Issue

[¶1] Janell Lee pleaded guilty to theft, a Level 5 felony. The trial court sentenced her to three years with nine months to be executed in the Indiana Department of Correction ("DOC"). The trial court also imposed a public defender fee and court costs. Lee now appeals, raising one issue for our review which we restate as whether the trial court abused its discretion by ordering Lee to pay a public defender fee and court costs. Concluding the trial court did not abuse its discretion, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] Lee was employed as a bookkeeper for Broadway Home Improvements. During her employment, Lee deposited $65,822.99 of the company's money into her and her husband's personal bank accounts without authorization. Lee's conduct was discovered during an audit in March 2020. On July 7, 2020, the State charged Lee with one count of theft as a Level 5 felony and two counts of theft as Level 6 felonies.

[¶3] Lee was arrested and posted a $2,500 cash bond. Lee's bond agreement stipulated:

The Defendant may pledge, or the Court may order, the Bond money used for the payment of attorney fees, fines, court costs, restitution, probation service fees or other user's fees

Appellant's Appendix, Volume II at 28.


[¶4] On February 18, 2021, a pretrial conference was held. The trial court questioned Lee about her employment status, current hourly rate of pay, and whether she had hired an attorney. Lee stated that she had hired an attorney but that her attorney "just needs more money." Transcript of Evidence, Volume II at 24-25. However, the trial court noted that no attorney had entered an appearance on Lee's behalf and appointed a public defender to represent Lee.

[¶5] On October 28, 2021, Lee entered into a plea agreement wherein she agreed to plead guilty to theft as a Level 5 felony, and in exchange her other charges would be dismissed. The plea agreement provided, in relevant part, that Lee "shall pay all applicable costs." Appellant's App., Vol. II at 75. On January 6, 2022, a change of plea hearing was held. The trial court reiterated that pursuant to the agreement, Lee would pay the "applicable court costs, fees, or probation fees, whatever the Court decides as far as sentencing." Tr., Vol. II at 56.

[¶6] Subsequently, Lee was sentenced to three years with nine months to be executed in the DOC. The trial court also imposed a public defender fee of $300, court costs of $185,...

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