Court docket upholds native drug offender’s sentence

INDIANAPOLIS – An appeals court has upheld a Richmond man’s 16-year sentence after admitting to possessing heroin and fentanyl and being a habitual offender.

Forty-year-old Jeremy Lee Rodgers pleaded guilty to a level 4 possession charge and two controlled substance offenses without consent. He also agreed that he qualified as a habit offender.

After hearing evidence and arguments, Judge Charles Todd Jr. sentenced Rodgers to eight years for the level 4 crime on October 21, 2020, and increased the sentence by an additional eight years for ruling on a habitual offender. The one-year sentence for the offenses was served at the same time as the 16-year sentence.

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The penalty range for a level 4 crime is two to 12 years with a six-year deliberation sentence, and the habitual offender penalty for a level 4 crime ranges from six to 20 years.

Rodgers’ appeal was requested to reduce his sentence to 14 years in total. He argued that the verdict was inappropriate because when he was arrested he was extremely intoxicated, pleaded guilty, was repentant, helped raise a child, was never given tools to overcome addiction, his daughter and mother had trouble with suffered during his incarceration and during his incarceration he took part in addiction counseling and achieved a breakthrough.

The appellate judges ruled that Rodgers did not find that his judgment was inappropriateness.

Prior to the sentencing, Todd Rodgers looked at criminal history of 11 crime convictions and 12 misdemeanor convictions, his subsequent five post-arrest arrests for which he was convicted, and the fact that he was on parole at the time of his arrest, as aggravating circumstances. The judge viewed Rodgers’ confessions of guilt and his positive steps toward change while he was incarcerated as mitigating factors, the statement said.

The appeal statement also indicates that Rodgers has been parole five times, parole revoked twice, and two other parole violations have been imposed. He also did not appear and was found in contempt of the court. As such, it is viewed as a high risk of re-attack.

Rodgers also admitted when giving testimony prior to his conviction that he did not pay child support and that a neighbor helped his mother significantly, the statement said. The judge ruled that there would be no “undue hardship” for either his daughter or mother while Rodgers was incarcerated.

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The appeals court found that these factors were adequately taken into account and 16 years is a reasonable sentence. In the Indiana Department of Correction’s online records, Rodgers is listed as serving his sentence in the Central Office.

The charges Rodgers pleaded guilty to came from a Wayne County sheriff’s assistant who was tracking down Rodgers for an arrest warrant and stopped a vehicle in which Rodgers was a passenger. A search of the prison strip found 16 grams of heroin and fentanyl, more than $ 2,000 in cash and two controlled substances.

Of his five subsequent arrests, Rodgers has pleaded guilty to defying law enforcement and served a 20-day sentence. The other four cases of five Level 6 crimes and one misdemeanor are due to go to Supreme Court 1 June 1.

Three cases each accuse Rodgers of possessing heroin, and the fourth accuses him of possession of methamphetamine and wronging false information. He is also accused of having had a syringe in one of the heroin cases.

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