Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

Contested hearing leads to 25-year prison sentence

A contested hearing led to a 25-year prison sentence for one defendant when the district court met in Panhandle last Wednesday, July 19.

District Attorney Luke Inman, with Assistant District Attorney Harley Caudle, prosecuted the case for the State of Texas with the Honorable Judge Stuart Messer presiding.

Dakota James Lindsey pleaded true to allegations listed in the State’s Motion to Adjudicate and a contested punishment hearing was heard by Messer. After all the evidence was produced by both parties, Messer sentenced Lindsey to 25 years in the Institutional Division of TDCJ for the first degree felony offense of theft.

Lindsey, 23 from Amarillo, was originally placed on community supervision on August 22, 2016, for the first degree felony offense of theft that took place on May 1, 2015.

Lindsey’s theft investigation was conducted by DPS Texas Ranger Division Scott Swick. Swick’s investigation led to the August 9, 2016 conviction of Lindsey’s co-defendant, Max Rippetoe, who was sentenced to 23 years in TDCJ.

After Rippetoe’s plea, Lindsey was placed on deferred adjudication for ten years, was assessed a $250 fine, $77,729.20 in restitution to the victim, $801.25 in jail restitution, and was required to successfully complete 400 hours of community service.

The State filed its motion to adjudicate on March 6, 2017, alleging four violations of community supervision which were failure to report, failure to pay fines, fees and restitution, and failure to complete community service hours.

After plea negotiations failed on July 18, 2017, a contested hearing was scheduled for the next day. During the punishment hearing, the State called three witnesses.

Becky Fuller, the 100th Judicial District Community Supervision and Corrections Department director, testified that after pleading guilty in August, Lindsey failed to ever report or pay anything towards his probation.

Mark White, a 100th Judicial District CSCD officer, testified that before filing a violation report with the District Attorney’s Office, Lindsey had not performed any community service hours, nor had he done anything else he was required to do pursuant to the orders of community supervision.

Kirk Daniels with the Potter County CSCD testified that after Lindsey requested a transfer to his County, Lindsey never reported in person to their office either, even though many attempts were made to reach Lindsey.

“Basically, this Defendant left court in August and didn’t do anything he was required to do under the orders of his probation,” said Caudle. “You would think someone knowing that just one violation of their community supervision could end them up in prison for the rest of their life would take these conditions more seriously.”

After hearing all the evidence, Messer sentenced Lindsey to 25 years in addition to assessing the original restitution and court costs.

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