State v. Lime

Decision Date30 August 1993
Docket NumberNo. 49A04-9304-CR-132,49A04-9304-CR-132
Citation619 N.E.2d 601
PartiesSTATE of Indiana, Appellant-Respondent, v. Anthony Scott LIME, Appellee-Petitioner.
CourtIndiana Appellate Court

Pamela Carter, Atty. Gen., Jodi Kathryn Rowe, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellant-respondent.

James W. McNew, Brand & Allen, Greenfield, for appellee-petitioner.


The State appeals the post-conviction court's grant of Anthony Scott Lime's petitions for post-conviction relief.

We affirm.

The only issue the State presents for review is whether the trial court erred in granting Lime's petitions for post-conviction relief.

On September 16, 1985, the State charged Lime by information under Cause No. A1085-6289 with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, a class A misdemeanor, and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .10% or more by weight, a class C misdemeanor. IND.CODE 9-30-5-2; IC 9-30-5-1. After executing a written waiver of rights, Lime pled guilty to the charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court asked him if he was forced to sign the plea agreement. He answered "No." Lime stipulated to the factual basis of the charge. The court then accepted his guilty plea and sentenced him.

On September 15, 1986, the State charged Lime by information under Cause No. A1086-5894 with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, a class D felony, and public intoxication, a class B misdemeanor. IC 9-30-5-3; IC 7.1-5-1-3. Lime entered into a plea agreement in which the State would recommend dismissal of the second charge if he pled guilty to the charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The plea agreement contained a written waiver of rights which Lime initialed and signed. The court asked Lime if that was his signature on the plea agreement, if he had read the sheet, if he was aware of the rights he was giving up, and if he had any questions about his rights. After Lime answered the first three questions in the affirmative and the fourth in the negative, the court accepted the plea agreement and sentenced him.

On October 20, 1992, Lime filed petitions for post-conviction relief under both causes, alleging during each of the proceedings he was not adequately advised of his constitutional rights. The court held a hearing on both petitions. At the hearing, Lime did not testify. Instead he stated he was resting on his verified petition. In argument, Lime referred to the guilty plea transcripts but they were not entered into evidence. Subsequently, the court granted both petitions and ordered his convictions vacated. In its findings of fact and conclusions of law, the court stated Lime's petition was meritorious since no evidence existed in the record to show Lime was advised of his right to a trial by jury, right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him, or his privilege against self-incrimination prior to the entry of his pleas of guilty. The State appeals.

When the State appeals from an order granting post-conviction relief, the standard of review for a negative judgment does not apply. State v. Clanton (1982), Ind.App., 443 N.E.2d 1204, 1205. The review of civil cases tried by the court without a jury is governed by Ind.Trial Rule 52(A) which provides the judgment may not be set aside unless the findings or judgment is clearly erroneous and due regard shall be given to the opportunity of the trial court to judge the credibility of the witnesses.

The State argues the petitions and guilty plea transcripts did not constitute competent evidence. Therefore, the State maintains Lime did not meet his burden of proof, and the trial court erred in granting relief.

In a post-conviction relief proceeding, a petitioner has the burden of establishing his grounds for relief by a preponderance of the evidence. Ind.Post-Conviction Rule 1(5); Followell v. State (1991), Ind., 578 N.E.2d 646, 648.

In State v. Cleland (1985), Ind., 477 N.E.2d 537, our supreme court examined a similar question. The petitioner rested on his petitions and presented no additional evidence in support of them. Our supreme court held the petitions for post-conviction relief, which were signed under oath, were actually affidavits and could therefore be considered as evidence by the post-conviction court, absent timely objection by the State. Id. at 538. Our supreme court went on to hold the fact the documents were not formally admitted into evidence did not preclude the post-conviction court from considering them as such when the parties agreed they constituted evidence, the State made no objection, the court did not require the parties to proceed by formally introducing the documents, and they were part of the record before the court on review. Id.

Subsequently, our supreme court addressed its holding in Cleland in State v. Sanders (1992), Ind., 596 N.E.2d 225. In Sanders, the petitioner introduced his petition for a limited purpose and not for the truth of the matters it contained. The post-conviction court admitted the plea agreement and transcript of the guilty plea hearing into evidence. Sanders then rested. The State called no witnesses. The post-conviction court granted the petitioner's petition, quoting at length from it. On appeal, we affirmed the post-conviction court's judgment in spite of the State's argument that the petitioner did not provide testimony necessary to establish the claims contained within his petition. Our supreme court reversed, stating the trial court erroneously considered the petition as if it had been admitted into evidence to prove the truth of the allegations contained therein. Our supreme court then reviewed its holding in Cleland and stated Cleland could not be extended to cover a petition which was admitted into evidence for a limited purpose. It then stated the better reasoned rule was presented in Cleland's dissent which stated a plaintiff cannot maintain his position by pleading under oath and then rest on that pleading. Id. at 596.

We find the facts of this case more like the facts in Cleland. Lime submitted to the court petitions for post-conviction relief which were signed under oath. Like the petition in Cleland, these were not admitted for a limited purpose, as was the petition in Sanders. The record reveals both parties and the court considered the petitions to be evidence. The State did not object to the court's reliance. Therefore, the trial court could under the circumstances properly consider them as evidence.

Like Lime's post-conviction relief petition, the trial court had before it the guilty plea hearing transcripts. The State correctly states a post-conviction court cannot take judicial notice of the...

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14 cases
  • Bautista v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • January 29, 2021
    ...none of which specifically addresses the rights being waived, Ponce , 992 N.E.2d 726, 729 at 213 [sic] quoting [ State v. Lime , 619 N.E.2d 601, 605 (Ind. Ct. App. 1993), trans. denied (1994)]. Such was not the case during Bautista's guilty plea hearing. Bautista's [sic] was advised of his ......
  • State v. Winters
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • April 4, 1997
    ...the granting of post-conviction relief, the standard of review applicable to negative judgments does not apply. State v. Lime, 619 N.E.2d 601, 603 (Ind.Ct.App.1993), trans. denied (1994). We review under the standard noted in Ind.Trial Rule 52(A). Id. Under that standard, this court will no......
  • Jackson v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • January 16, 1997
    ...not inform a defendant of his Boykin rights, a conviction will be vacated without a showing of prejudice to defendant. State v. Lime, 619 N.E.2d 601 (Ind.Ct.App.1993), reh'g denied, trans. denied. At the guilty plea hearing, held on the day that the matter was set for trial, the following e......
  • Harris v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Appellate Court
    • August 27, 1996
    ...his appellate brief nor has he made a showing that he would not have pled guilty had he been accurately advised. See State v. Lime, 619 N.E.2d 601, 604 (Ind.Ct.App.1993), reh'g denied, trans. denied (mere proof that the court failed to give a non-Boykin advisement is not sufficient to rende......
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