Roberts v. State, 012221 INCA, 20A-CR-1478

Docket Nº:20A-CR-1478
Opinion Judge:BRADFORD, CHIEF JUDGE.
Party Name:Jerald J. Roberts, Appellant-Defendant, v. State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
Attorney:ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Brian A. Karle Ball Eggleston, PC Lafayette, Indiana ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Theodore E. Rokita Attorney General of Indiana Myriam Serrano-Colon Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana
Judge Panel:Kirsch, J., and May, J., concur.
Case Date:January 22, 2021
Court:Court of Appeals of Indiana

Jerald J. Roberts, Appellant-Defendant,

v.

State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

No. 20A-CR-1478

Court of Appeals of Indiana

January 22, 2021

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 Tippecanoe Superior Court The Honorable Steven P. Meyer, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 79D02-2004-F3-10

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Brian A. Karle Ball Eggleston, PC Lafayette, Indiana

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Theodore E. Rokita Attorney General of Indiana Myriam Serrano-Colon Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

MEMORANDUM DECISION

BRADFORD, CHIEF JUDGE.

Case Summary

[¶1] After pleading guilty to Level 5 felony domestic battery with a deadly weapon and Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy, Jerald Roberts was sentenced to an aggregate five-year term. In sentencing Roberts, the trial court ordered that two years be executed in the Department of Correction ("DOC") and the remaining three years be suspended to probation. Roberts challenges his sentence on appeal, arguing that his five-year sentence is inappropriate. We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] On April 10, 2020, Roberts became upset because his wife "wanted to leave the [family's] home" but he "didn't want her to leave." Tr. Vol. II p. 21. In an attempt to keep his wife from leaving the home, Roberts struck her "with the butt end of [a] machete." Tr. Vol. II p. 21. As a result of Roberts's actions, on April 15, 2020, the State charged Roberts with Level 3 felony criminal confinement, Level 5 felony domestic battery by means of a deadly weapon, and two counts of Level 5 felony intimidation. During an initial hearing on these charges, Roberts was instructed that he was to have no contact with his wife. However, despite being aware that he was not to contact his wife, Roberts subsequently contacted her via telephone from the jail. After Roberts contacted his wife, on June 22, 2020, the State amended the charging information to include a charge of Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy.

[¶3] On June 23, 2020, Roberts pled guilty to Level 3 felony domestic battery by means of a deadly weapon and Class A misdemeanor invasion of property. In exchange for Roberts's guilty plea, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining charges. On July 31, 2020, the trial court accepted Roberts's guilty plea and sentenced him to an aggregate five-year sentence. In imposing this sentence, the trial court ordered that two years be executed in the DOC and the remaining three years suspended to probation.[1]

Discussion and Decision

[¶4] Roberts contends that his aggregate five-year sentence is inappropriate. Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) provides that "[t]he Court may revise a sentence authorized by statute if, after due consideration of the trial court's decision, the Court finds that the sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the offender." In analyzing such claims, we "concentrate less on comparing the facts of [the case at issue] to others, whether real or hypothetical, and more on focusing on the nature, extent, and depravity of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced, and what it reveals about the defendant's character." Paul v. State, 888 N.E.2d 818, 825 (Ind.Ct.App. 2008) (internal quotation omitted). The defendant bears the burden of persuading us that his sentence is inappropriate. Sanchez v. State, 891 N.E.2d 174, 176 (Ind.Ct.App. 2008).

[¶5] The trial court sentenced Roberts to a four-year term for his Level 5 felony domestic battery conviction and a one-year term for his Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy conviction. The trial court ordered that the sentences run consecutively. Indiana Code section 35-50-2-6 provides that "[a] person who commits a Level 5 felony … shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of between one (1) and six (6) years, with the advisory sentence being three (3) years." Indiana Code section 35-50-3-2 provides that "[a] person who commits a Class A misdemeanor shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of not more than one (1) year." Thus, while the trial court imposed a slightly-aggravated sentence in sentencing Roberts, the trial court ordered that only two of those years be served in the DOC with the remaining three years suspended to probation.

[¶6] In challenging the appropriateness of his sentence, Roberts argues that neither of his offenses were "more egregious than the 'typical' offense of that kind." Appellant's Br. p. 8. We cannot agree. As for the Level 5 felony domestic battery conviction, Roberts struck his wife "with the butt end of [a] machete" because he "didn't want her to leave" their home. Tr. Vol. II p. 21. As the State points out, Roberts admitted to attempting to kill his wife, stating that at the time of the attack on his wife, "he was on methamphetamine and had not slept in about two weeks." Ex. Vol. p. 6. As for the Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy conviction, Roberts continued to contact his wife via telephone from jail despite being aware that he had been ordered not to do so.2

[¶7] As...

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