ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
NICHOLAS C. DEETS STEVE CARTER
Indianapolis, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
Deputy Attorney General
COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA
RODNEY D. SNIDER, )
vs. ) No. 34A04-0011-CR-497
STATE OF INDIANA, )
APPEAL FROM THE HOWARD SUPERIOR COURT
The Honorable John Wood, Judge
Cause No. 34D03-9810-DF-2211
August 2, 2001
OPINION - FOR PUBLICATION
Rodney D. Snider pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol
content of .10% or more, a Class C misdemeanor, and operating while intoxicated
with a prior conviction, a Class D felony. Snider appeals the trial
courts sentencing order. We affirm.
Snider raises the following issue for our review: whether the trial court properly
found that the minimum non-suspendable portion of Sniders sentence for a Class D
felony was one year rather than six months.
Facts and Procedural History
On October 3, 1998, Snider was arrested and on October 7, 1998, the
State filed a four-count information against Snider, charging him with operating a vehicle
while intoxicated as a Class A misdemeanor, operating a vehicle with a blood
alcohol content of .10% or more (operating per se), a Class C misdemeanor,
operating a vehicle while intoxicated as a Class D felony because of a
prior operating while intoxicated conviction, and driving while license suspended, a Class A
misdemeanor. Snider had been convicted on February 24, 1994 of operating while
intoxicated and was released from that probation less than three years prior to
Snider entered a plea of guilty to the following counts: operating per se,
a Class C misdemeanor, and operating while intoxicated, a Class D felony.
According to the plea agreement, Snider would receive an eighteen-month sentence, all suspended,
with a maximum of one year of in-home detention and the remainder to
be served under the standard terms and conditions of informal probation. The
trial court accepted the plea agreement and, based on the States request, ordered
a pre-sentence investigation report. Because Snider had a prior felony conviction and
was released from probation less than three years prior to this arrest, the
pre-sentence investigation report recommended that Snider serve a minimum of one year on
in-home detention followed by six months probation.
On October 10, 2000, the trial court held a sentencing hearing. The
conviction for operating per se was vacated, and Snider was sentenced only for
the conviction of operating while intoxicated, a Class D felony. The
trial court sentenced Snider to the Indiana Department of Correction for eighteen months,
all suspended except for one year to be served on in-home detention, followed
by six months probation. Specifically, the trial court found that one year
of the sentence was not suspendable under Indiana Code section 35-50-2-2.
Discussion and Decision
Standard of Review
We initially note that the interpretation of a statute is a matter of
law which we review de novo. Clark v. Madden, 725 N.E.2d 100,
104 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000). The cardinal rule of statutory construction is
to determine and give effect to the true intent of the legislature.
Superior Constr. Co. v. Carr, 564 N.E.2d 281 (Ind. 1990). To do
this we interpret the statute according to the ordinary and plain meaning of
the language used, absent a clearly manifested purpose to do otherwise. T.W.
Thom Constr. v. City of Jeffersonville, 721 N.E.2d 319, 324 (Ind. Ct. App.
Minimum Sentencing Requirement
Snider claims that the trial court incorrectly concluded that the minimum non-suspendable portion
of Sniders sentence for his Class D felony conviction was one year rather
than six months. The trial court sentenced Snider to a non-suspendable
one year of in-home detention followed by six months informal probation.
The plea agreement provides that Snider would serve a cap of one year
on in-home detention with the remainder to be served under informal probation.
In its sentencing order, the trial court expressly relied on Indiana Code section
35-50-2-2-3 [sic], which we assume to be a mis-cite to Indiana Code section
35-50-2-2(b)(3). Indiana Code section 35-50-2-2 states that the trial court may suspend
any part of a sentence for a felony. Ind. Code § 35-50-2-2(a).
However, if the crime committed was a Class D felony and less
than three years have elapsed between the date the person was discharged from
probation . . . for a prior unrelated felony conviction and the date
the person committed the Class D felony for which the person is being
sentenced, the trial court may suspend only that part of the sentence that
is in excess of the minimum sentence. Ind. Code § 35-50-2-2(b), (b)(3).
With respect to this specific circumstance, the trial court may suspend the
minimum sentence for the crime only if the court orders home detention .
. . instead of the minimum sentence specified for the crime. Ind.
Code § 35-50-2-2(b)(3). Indiana Code section 35-50-2-1 defines the term minimum sentence
as used in that chapter to be one year for a Class D
felony. Ind. Code § 35-50-2-1(c)(5).
Snider claims Indiana Code section 35-50-2-7 defines the minimum sentence for a
Class D felony as six months and, thus, the statute requires a different
result than that reached by the trial court. Section 35-50-2-7 provides that
[a] person who commits a Class D felony shall be imprisoned for a
fixed term of one and one-half years with . . . not
more than one year subtracted for mitigating circumstances. Ind. Code § 35-50-2-7(a).
Under this general provision regarding presumptive sentences, therefore, it appears the minimum
sentence for a Class D felony is effectively six months. Although this
general statute renders a minimum sentence, the sentence administered by the trial
court corresponds to the specific statute on suspended sentences. Therefore, as defined
by statute and as applied to this particular case, the minimum sentence is
a specialized term of art.
Additionally, the statute cited by Snider is a general statute that describes sentence
parameters. As such, it does not address suspended sentences which are described
in the specific statute that the trial court referred to when it sentenced
Snider. When general and specific statutes conflict in their application to a
particular subject matter, the specific statute will prevail over the general statute.
WorldCom Network Servs., Inc. v. Thompson, 698 N.E.2d 1233, 1239 (Ind.
Ct. App.1998), trans. denied. Thus, the trial court properly sentenced Snider and
correctly applied the specific statute that addresses suspended sentences and refers to the
minimum sentence, which is defined by statute as one year.
Here, the evidence is limited because transcripts of hearings were not submitted on
appeal.See footnote Despite the lack of transcript, in its sentencing order, the trial
court specifically stated that the one year of in-home detention was not suspendable.
We presume the trial court knew the law because when the trial
court sentenced Snider, it explicitly cited the specific statute regarding suspended sentences.
Therefore, the trial court properly sentenced Snider to a non-suspendable sentence of one
year for the Class D felony conviction.
The trial court correctly sentenced Snider according to the statute that specifically addresses
suspended sentences for Class D felonies. Accordingly, the trial courts judgment is
BROOK, J., and VAIDIK, J., concur.
Snider argues that his case is analogous to
Antcliff v. State, 688
N.E.2d 166 (Ind. App. 1997). In Antcliff, our court held that the
trial court improperly sentenced Antcliff to serve more than the presumptive sentence allowed
under Indiana Code section 35-50-2-7. Sniders case can be distinguished from Antcliff
because the timing of Sniders prior conviction permits the trial court to apply
the specific statute that addresses suspended sentences. Thus, Antcliff, does not apply
to Sniders case and is not dispositive of the issue raised herein.
Without a record of the hearings, we cannot infer the reasons for
the trial courts sentence. Therefore, our analysis of this case is limited
to a de novo review of the general and specific statutes. Additionally,
the State argues that this court should dismiss Sniders claim because Snider waived
appellate review when he did not file a record which includes a transcript
of the sentencing hearing. On April 30, 2001, this court denied the
States motion to dismiss this appeal which argued that Snider waived appellate review.
Because the waiver issue has already been decided, we refuse to reconsider
it in this opinion.