Attorneys for Appellant Attorney for Appellee
David W. Stone, IV Steve Carter
Anderson, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
Monika Prekopa Talbot
Deputy Attorney General
Indiana Supreme Court
Edward Dwayne Estes,
Appellant (Defendant below),
State of Indiana,
Appellee (Plaintiff below).
Appeal from the Madison Circuit Court, No. 48C01-0308-FA-248,
The Honorable Fredrick R. Spencer, Judge
On Petition To Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No. 48A05-0405-CR-262
May 10, 2005
Edward Dwayne Estes pleaded guilty to fourteen counts of child molesting and sexual
misconduct with a minor, and one count of intimidation. The trial court
sentenced him to 267 years in jail, which sentence was affirmed by the
Indiana Court of Appeals in an unpublished decision. We revise the sentence
to 120 years.
Estes was charged with multiple counts of child molesting and sexual misconduct with
a minor, and a single charge of intimidation, all arising out of a
series of molestations of two victims over a period of years.
See footnote He
soon pleaded guilty to fi
fteen counts. There was no plea agreement as
to the sentence or the amount of jail time. The trial court
identified six aggravating circumstances, finding that Estes: had been in a position
of trust with the victims; caused the victims extensive trauma; needed correctional and
rehabilitative treatment; had committed multiple acts of molestation; had abused the two victims
in multiple ways; and had physically abused others. As mitigating circumstances,
the trial court considered Estess expression of remorse, his minimal criminal history, and
his guilty plea. The trial court rejected as mitigating circumstances Estess own
childhood abuse and his depression.
The trial court found the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances. That
court sentenced Estes to maximum enhanced terms for the Class A felonies and
ordered five of those served consecutively. The trial court imposed presumptive sentences
for the Class B and Class C felonies, and ordered some served consecutively.
The trial court imposed the maximum enhanced sentence for the Class D
intimidation felony and ordered that sentence served consecutively. The result was a
sentence of 267 years in jail.
On appeal, Estes argued the trial court had not properly balanced the a
and mitigating circumstances and the sentence was excessive, but the Court of Appeals
affirmed in Estes v. State, No. 48A05-0405-CR-262, slip op., (Ind. Ct. App. Dec.
8, 2004). We grant Estess petition to transfer jurisdiction of the case
and review the sentence. Discussion
Estes first argues the trial court improperly found and balanced mitigating and aggravating
circumstances. Indianas determinate sentencing scheme under which Estes was sentenced provided for
a standard or presumptive sentence, from which the trial court could add or
subtract time based on findings of aggravating or mitigating circumstances. See Serino
v. State, 798 N.E.2d 852, 854 (Ind. 2003).
See footnote Parts of this scheme
were rendered unconstitutional by
Blakely v. Washington, 124 S.Ct. 2531 (2004) and its
progeny. See Smylie v. State, 823 N.E.2d 679 (Ind. 2005). We
need not address Estess arguments on this point, however, because the trial court
might have imposed essentially the same 267 years of jail time by ordering
other sentences served consecutively, see I.C. § 35-50-1-2, and a courts authority to order consecutive
sentences was not affected by Blakely. See Smylie, 823 N.E.2d at 686.
Subject to the legal parameters, sentencing determinations are generally within the discretion of
the trial court. Ruiz v. State, 818 N.E.2d 927, 928 (Ind. 2004).
Nonetheless, Article VII, Section 4 of the Indiana Constitution provides that the
Supreme Court shall have, in all appeals of criminal cases, the power to
. . . review and revise the sentence imposed. We may revise
a sentence authorized by statute if, after due consideration of the trial courts
decision, the Court finds that the sentence is inappropriate in light of the
nature of the offense and the character of the offender. Ind. Appellate
Estes committed the offenses against two victims, so at least one consecutive sentence
is appropriate. See Serino, 798 N.E.2d at 857. But the 267-year
sentence is well outside the typical range of sentences imposed for child molesting
in reported Indiana decisions. See Serino, 798 N.E.2d at 857-58 (citing cases).
There are mitigating circumstances. Estes had no substantial criminal history and
he expressed remorse. His prompt admissions and guilty plea saved judicial resources
and spared the victims from trial. See, e.g., Ruiz, 818 N.E.2d at
929; Francis v. State, 817 N.E.2d 235, 237-38 (Ind. 2004).
We conclude that in light of the nature of the offense and the
character of the offender, Estess sentence should be revised to four consecutive standard
terms for a Class A felony, a total of 120 years, and that
the other sentences should be served concurrently. The trial court may select
which sentences shall be served consecutively. Conclusion
We grant transfer, and remand with directions for the trial court to rearrange
the sentence accordingly.
Shepard, C.J., and Dickson, Sullivan, Boehm and Rucker, JJ., concur.
Ind. Code § 35-42-4-3 (child molesting); I.C. § 35-42-4-9 (sexual misconduct with
inor); I.C. § 35-45-2-1 (intimidation).
The record suggests some discrepancies between the felony classification of the offenses
charged in the charging documents, the charges to which Estes pleaded guilty, the
trial courts oral pr
onouncement of sentence, and the trial courts chronological case summary.
For example, Count XVI was charged as a Class C felony and
the chronological case summary reflects sentencing for that felony classification, but the trial
court pronounced a sentence for a Class A felony. In addition, the
Court of Appeals slip opinion states at page 7 that the trial court
imposed the maximum enhanced sentences for a Class B felony and a Class
C felony, but the record shows presumptive sentences were imposed. We need
not address this, however, because both parties have stated in their respective appellate
briefs that a sentence of 267 years was imposed.
For example, the presumptive sentence for child molesting as a class A felony
is thirty years, to which may be added as much as twenty years
for aggravating circumstances or as much as ten years subtracted for mitigating circumstances.
I.C. § 35-50-2-4. Similarly, the presumptive sentence for a Class
B felony is ten years, with not more than ten years added and
not more than four years subtracted, I.C. § 35-50-2-5; the presumptive sentence for
a Class C felony is four years, with not more than four years
added and not more than two years subtracted, I.C. § 35-50-2-6; and the
presumptive sentence for a Class D felony is one and one-half years, with
not more than one and one-half years added and not more than one
year subtracted. I.C. § 35-50-2-7.