Sanford v. State

Full title: Ronald L. SANFORD, Jr., Appellant (Petitioner below), v. STATE of Indiana…

Court: Supreme Court of Indiana.

No. 49S05–1604–PC–210.

Date published: Apr 27, 2016

Fact:

Ronald Sanford, at the age of thirteen, committed a heinous crime in 1987, resulting in the death of his elderly neighbors. He was charged with multiple felonies, including two counts of murder, and pleaded guilty to these charges in 1989, at the age of fifteen, receiving a sentence of 170 years in prison. The trial court never informed him of his right to appeal his sentence. Over the years, Sanford made several attempts to obtain his trial court transcripts to pursue post-conviction relief but faced numerous obstacles, including denial of requests and missing case files.

Issue: 

Whether Ronald Sanford should be permitted to file a belated Notice of Appeal under Post-Conviction Rule 2, considering the circumstances of his case, including the failure to inform him of his right to appeal, repeated denial of requests for trial court transcripts, and missing case files.

Decision: 

The court grants transfer, reverses the judgment of the trial court, and remands with instructions to grant Sanford’s Post-Conviction Rule 2 petition. The court finds that Sanford’s failure to file a timely Notice of Appeal was not his fault, given the circumstances, and that he had been diligent in seeking permission to file a belated Notice of Appeal under the rule. Therefore, the court concludes that Sanford should be allowed to file a belated Notice of Appeal. The decision also affirms the Court of Appeals’ ruling on all other aspects of the case. All Justices concur with the decision.

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