ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
GREGORY BOWES KAREN FREEMAN-WILSON
Indianapolis, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
Deputy Attorney General
COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA
STANLEY PURDY, )
vs. ) No. 49A02-9809-CR-713
STATE OF INDIANA, )
APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT
The Honorable Evan Goodman, Judge
Cause No. 49F16-9804-DF-53747
April 27, 2000
OPINION - FOR PUBLICATION
Stanley Purdy was convicted after a jury trial of intimidation, a Class D
felony; resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor; and battery, a Class A
misdemeanor. He was sentenced to three years for his conviction of intimidation,
one year for his conviction of resisting law enforcement, and one year for
his conviction of battery. The sentences were to be served consecutively, resulting
in a total sentence of five years. Purdy appeals, asserting that this
sentence violated the limitation on sentence length contained in Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2(c).
We reverse and remand with instructions.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On April 6, 1998, Purdy went to the house of Vennessia Laudig, his
former girlfriend. Although Purdy had been ordered by the court not to
have contact with Laudig, he pounded on Laudigs door and threatened to kick
it in. Laudig, who did not have a telephone in her house,
tried to run next door to use the telephone at the Village Pantry.
Purdy grabbed Laudig by the shoulders, bruising her.
The police were called to the scene. When they arrived, they attempted
to handcuff Purdy, but he fought with them, kicked and spat at one
officer, and attempted to flee. As the officers placed Purdy in the
paddy wagon, he threatened to kill one of the officers.
DISCUSSION AND DECISION
Purdys five-year sentence was error. Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2(c) provides:
The court may order terms of imprisonment to be served consecutively . .
. . However, except for crimes of violence, the total of the
consecutive terms of imprisonment . . . to which the defendant is sentenced
for felony convictions arising out of an episode of criminal conduct shall not
exceed the presumptive sentence for a felony which is one (1) class of
felony higher than the most serious of the felonies for which the person
has been convicted.
Purdy first contends that he was not convicted of a crime of violence.
We agree. Crime of violence is defined for sentencing purposes in
Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2(a), and none of Purdys crimes are listed in that
And see Ballard v. State, 715 N.E.2d 1276, 1280 (Ind. Ct.
App. 1999) (offenses not included in that section are not crimes of violence
for purposes of the limitation on length of consecutive sentences).
Purdy next contends that his convictions arise out of a single episode of
criminal conduct. A single episode of criminal conduct is defined as offenses
or a connected series of offenses that are closely related in time, place,
and circumstance. Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2(b). This court recently defined a
single episode as an occurrence or connected series of occurrences and developments which
may be viewed as distinctive and apart although part of a larger or
more comprehensive series." Flynn v. State, 702 N.E.2d 741, 749 (Ind. Ct.
App. 1998) (quoting Tedlock v. State, 656 N.E.2d 273, 276 (Ind. Ct. App.
Purdys actions constitute a single episode, as all of his actions took place
during a relatively short period of time and all were related to his
assault on Laudig. As a result, his convictions arose out of a
single episode as contemplated by Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2(b).
As Purdys convictions were not of crimes of violence as defined by Ind.
Code § 35-50-1-2(a) and were the result of a single episode as defined
by Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2(b), the consecutive terms of his sentences should not
have exceeded the presumptive sentence for a Class C felony. The presumptive
sentence for a Class C felony is four years. Purdys total sentence
is five years. This reflects consecutive sentences of three years for the
Class D felony conviction, and one year each for the two Class A
misdemeanor convictions. The three-year sentence Purdy received for the Class D felony
conviction does not by itself violate Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2. However, the
addition of the two separate misdemeanor sentences of one year each causes Purdys
sentence to be in violation of this code section.
This is a case of first impression. We do not and may
not interpret a statute that is facially clear and unambiguous. Rather, we
give the statute its plain and clear meaning. Skrzypczak v. State Farm
Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 668 N.E.2d 291, 295 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996).
If a statute is ambiguous, we seek to ascertain and give effect to
the legislature's intent. Id. In so doing, we read the act
as a whole and strive to give effect to all of the provisions,
id., so that no part is held meaningless if it can be reconciled
with the rest of the statute. JKB, Sr. v. Armour Pharm. Co.,
660 N.E.2d 602, 605 (Ind. Ct. App. 1996). Further, we presume that
our legislature intended its language to be applied in a logical manner consistent
with the statute's underlying policy and goals. Walling v. Appel Serv. Co.,
641 N.E.2d 647, 651 (Ind. Ct. App. 1994). A statute should not
be interpreted in such a manner as to render it absurd. Indiana
Dept of State Revenue v. Fort Wayne Natl Corp., 649 N.E.2d 109, 113
The States argument reveals the ambiguity in this statute. The State argues:
The language of Indiana Code § 35-50-1-2(c) explicitly limits its application to sentences
for felony convictions. Therefore, misdemeanor convictions are not included in the consecutive
sentencing limitations of the statute . . . .
Accordingly, the consecutive sentencing restriction of Indiana Code § 35-50-1-2 does not apply
to Defendants misdemeanor sentences for resisting law enforcement and battery convictions. . .
. Because Defendants misdemeanor convictions are exempted from any limitations on consecutive sentences,
the consecutive sentence limitation in Indiana Code § 35-50-1-2 cannot apply to a
single felony sentence for intimidation.
(Br. of Appellee at 4, citations omitted, emphasis in original.)
Under this reasoning, had Purdy been convicted of three Class D felonies rather
than one Class D felony and two Class A misdemeanors, he could be
sentenced to only four years. Thus, Purdy received a longer consecutive sentence
for one felony and two misdemeanor convictions than he could have received for
three felony convictions.
The legislature could not have intended this result. Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2
imposes a previously nonexistent limitation upon a trial courts discretion to impose consecutive
sentences, Tedlock, 656 N.E.2d at 275, and is thus ameliorative in nature.
Id. at 276. An ameliorative statute is one that has the effect
of decreasing the penalty for an offense. See Holsclaw v. State, 270
Ind. 256, 261, 384 N.E.2d 1026, 1030 (1979). We must decline the
States invitation to interpret this ameliorative statute so as to increase the length
of Purdys sentence by virtue of his convictions of misdemeanors rather than felonies.
We reverse and remand with instructions to the trial court to resentence Purdy
so that his total sentence is limited to four years.
BAILEY, J., and BAKER, J., concur.
The State does not argue on appeal that Purdy committed crimes
of violence or that his crimes did not arise out of a single
episode of criminal conduct.