Weyls v. State, 976S282

Citation266 Ind. 301, 362 N.E.2d 481
Case DateMay 10, 1977
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Robert F. Hellmann, Dexter L. Bolin, Jr., Terre Haute, for appellant.

Theodore L. Sendak, Atty. Gen., David L. Steiner, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

DeBRULER, Justice.

Appellant, Scott Weyls, was charged by information with first degree murder, Ind.Code § 35--13--4--1 (Burns 1975). Pursuant to a plea bargain agreement with the prosecutor, appellant pled guilty to the offenses of second degree murder, Ind.Code § 35--1--54--1 (Burns 1975), and commission of a felony (robbery) while armed, Ind.Code § 35--12--1--1 (Burns 1975). The prosecutor in return agreed to dismiss the charge of first degree murder, and recommended concurrent sentences of fifteen years imprisonment for the armed robbery and fifteen to twenty-five years for the murder. The trial court accepted appellant's plea of guilty to each charge and sentenced appellant according to the prosecutor's recommendation.

Appellant filed a timely motion to correct errors, which was overruled, and he appeals. Appellant's sole contention is that the sentence for second degree murder, other than life, is determinate, and that the trial court therefore erred in imposing an indeterminate sentence on appellant.

We note preliminarily that while a conviction based upon a guilty plea may not be challenged by motion to correct errors and direct appeal, Crain v. State, (1973) 261 Ind. 272, 301 N.E.2d 751, an error in a sentence imposed upon a guilty plea may be so challenged.

Section 35--1--54--1, defining the offense of second degree murder and the penalty therefor, reads as follows:

'Whoever purposely and maliciously, but without premeditation, kills any human being, is guilty of murder in the second degree, and, on conviction, shall be imprisoned in the state prison during life, or shall be imprisoned in the state prison not less than fifteen (15) nor more than twenty-five (25) years.'

The alternative sentence of fifteen to twenty-five years was added by a 1969 amendment. Ch. 95, § 1 (1969) Ind. Acts 214. Appellant was charged and sentenced after this amendment became effective.

Indiana Code §§ 35--8--2--1 to --3 (Burns 1975) govern the imposition of determinate and indeterminate sentences. Sections 35--8--2--2 and --3 provide that all persons convicted of felonies other than treason and first and second degree murder shall be sentenced for an indeterminate term of imprisonment of not less than the minimum or more than the maximum term prescribed by the statute defining the felony. Section 35--8--2--1 requires the trier of fact or assess the penalty in cases not within the indeterminate sentencing provisions.

Appellant argues that the offense of which he was convicted, second degree murder, is specifically exempted from the indeterminate sentencing provisions by § 35--8--2--2, and that therefore, the court had the duty under § 35--8--2--1 to impose a determinate sentence.

The indeterminate sentence statute instituted the indeterminate sentence and established a correctional system to carry out its policies. It deals with the nature of sentences and the proper repository of the authority to make sentencing decisions. In arriving at judgments about these subjects the statute places no reliance upon the definition of particular crimes and no consideration is given to the type of harm produced by particular criminal acts. However, in the language used in the exception under consideration the crimes of treason and first and second degree murder are uncharacteristically identified by name. Central to appellant's contention is the premise that these three specific crimes were singled out from...

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20 cases
  • Jefferson v. State, 3-679A180
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • January 30, 1980
    ...236 Ind. 49, 138 N.E.2d 290) and for murder and treason (see Beasley v. State (1977), 267 Ind. 396, 370 N.E.2d 360; Weyls v. State (1977), 266 Ind. 301, 362 N.E.2d 481; Brown v. State (1969), 252 Ind. 161, 247 N.E.2d 76) and judges imposed sentences with reference to other offenses. Despite......
  • State v. Dossett, 1-477A75
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • October 26, 1977
    ...may file at any time a petition under Ind. Rules of Procedure, Post-Conviction Remedies Rule P.C. 1. Weyls v. State (1977), Ind., 362 N.E.2d 481; Crain v. State (1973), 261 Ind. 272, 301 N.E.2d We consider Lock v. State (1975), Ind., 338 N.E.2d 262, to be analogous and illustrative. Pursuan......
  • Tumulty v. State, 48A02-9409-CR-539
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • February 28, 1995
    ...supreme court and this court have allowed exceptions to this rule for direct appeals of: 1) sentencing errors, see Weyls v. State (1977), 266 Ind. 301, 302, 362 N.E.2d 481, 482; 2) constitutional infirmities appearing on the face of the record, see Hathaway Page 364 v. State (1968), 251 Ind......
  • Jackson v. Miller, 98-3736
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 8, 2001
    ..."because a conviction based upon a guilty plea may not be challenged . . . by direct appeal" under Indiana law. See Weyls v. State, 362 N.E.2d 481, 482 (Ind. Therefore, because we are not convinced that Jackson was in danger of losing any rights by appearing without counsel on May 30, we ca......
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