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Law School Case Brief

State v. Ikerd - 610, 850 A.2d 516 (Super. Ct. App. Div. 2004)

Rule:

A bedrock principle is that sentences should be oriented toward the offense, not the offender. Accordingly, when imposing a sentence on a violation of probation, the focus of the sentencing judge must be upon the underlying crime and the sentence appropriate to that crime when considered in conjunction with the aggravating factors found by the court at the time the initial sentence was imposed, and any mitigating factors surviving the probationary violation.

Facts:

Simmone Ikerd pled guilty to one count of third-degree theft by deception, involving welfare fraud. She was sentenced to a five-year period of probation. A few years later, she reportedly violated her probation. At that time, she was 11 weeks pregnant. The trial court tried to fashion a sentence based on Ikerd being a pregnant addict. It announced that it was imposing a three-year prison sentence with an 18-month period of parole ineligibility. The prison sentence was to be served at a facility that could treat her pregnancy and addiction. Ikerd appealed.

Issue:

Was the sentence imposed for Ikerd’s violation of probation proper?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The appellate court first found that the case was not moot because it could be repeated. It then found the sentence imposed for the violation of probation was improper since it was imposed because she was a pregnant addict, it bore no relationship to her initial offense, it was excessively punitive, and the two aggravating factors cited were not proper factors to consider.

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