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Appeals Court Rules for New Castle Man
January 9, 2008 - A New Castle man sentenced in April to five years in prison for receiving stolen property will receive a new sentencing hearing and legal representation.
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in late November that the Henry Superior Court 2 erred in denying Rodney Boatright's request to have an attorney before being sentenced. Although he had previously waived his right to legal counsel, the Court of Appeals said Boatright should have been allowed to reassert this right.
Boatright pled guilty to five counts of receiving stolen property and being an habitual offender at his initial hearing on April 5. When he returned to court April 30 for sentencing, Boatright, who was indigent, asked for an attorney and said he had been "under the influence" at the April 5 hearing.
The trial court denied Boatright's request for attorney and sentenced him to a total of five years in prison. The Court of Appeals said it was reversible error to deny Boatright's request for an attorney without first considering factors set forth in a 1986 Indiana Supreme Court decision.
The Court said Boatright did not have a history of firing attorneys, but simply appeared to have changed his mind and wanted assistance for the sentencing. The Court also noted that Boatright contended he “was not in the proper state of mind when he waived his rights,” and said giving him an attorney would have caused no delay. Boatright's case was to go back to Henry Superior Court 2, where he was to be given a court-appointed attorney and receive a new sentencing hearing
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