INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the March 16 sentencing of Scott Leon Wilkins, 38, Milford, by Kosciusko Superior Court 3 Judge Joe Sutton. However, he has appealed the Court of Appeals ruling asking the case be transferred to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Wilkins was sentenced to 15 years to the Indiana Department of Corrections for the Dec. 27, 2014, death of Kami Ellis, 27, Nappanee, on CR 1350N. He is currently at Westville Correctional Facility. He was sentenced to nine years on the charge of causing the death of another person when operating a vehicle and six years for failure to comply with acts of a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in death. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively. He also received a 10-year suspended driver’s license.
No date for the state’s highest court to hear the case has been set.
The appeal to the Supreme Court seeks the answer to two questions:
- If the Court of Appeals erred by significantly departing from law and practice by not entertaining and then finding an abuse of discretion in the trial court’s sentencing statement; or, in the alternative, whether the decision of another case used in reference, needs reconsideration or clarification.
- Whether the Court of Appeals erred by significantly departing from law and practice by affirming the trial court’s imposition of an aggregate 15-year sentence considering the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.
His initial appeal was filed April 17 by Don Shuler with Barkes, Kolbus, Rife & Shuler LLP, Goshen. The issue was whether the trial court abused its discretion in finding certain aggravators and rejecting certain mitigators, and if the resultant 15-year aggregate sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and the character of the defendant. Shuler filed a 27-page brief with the court Aug. 1.
This brief included a statement of the case, statement of the facts, and summary of the argument. It also included the argument Wilkins’s sentence constitutes an abuse of discretion or in the alternative, is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and character of the defendant. Documents state the trial court abused its discretion during sentencing and noted such aggravators as “position of trust,” criminal history, significant harm to the victim’s family; and the mitigating circumstances which allegedly were rejected. Additionally the brief included Wilkins’s acceptance of responsibility and remorse. Shuler noted numerous cases to support the appeal and provided the character of Wilkins. “In sum, the record in this case, upon analysis under Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B), supports a reduction in Scott’s sentence, either in terms of length or proportionality between executed and suspended or other placement options.”
The state’s rebuttal was filed Aug. 31, arguing each point referenced by Shuler. In its 27-page response, the state concluded the trial court did not abuse its discretion at sentencing and the resulting sentence is not inappropriate, asking the court of appeals to affirm the trial court in all respects.
The Court of Appeals issued its ruling Sept. 29. A number of points were made by the justices during their discussion and decision on the two topics of abuse of discretion and inappropriate sentence.
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- Defense Rests, Case Going To Jury
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- Jury Reviews Medical Documents
- Further Evidence Presented In Wilkins Trial
- Wilkins Trial Continues
- State Begins Presenting Its Case
- Jury Trial Begins In 2014 Fatal Accident
- Two Arrested Following Saturday Traffic Fatality
- Victim In Saturday’s Crash Identified
- One Dies In Fatal Accident Near Milford