ANOTHER SERIOUS VIOLENT FELON RELEASED
DUE TO THE INCOMPETENCE OF NICK HERMANN’S OFFICE
PRESS RELEASE BY STAN LEVCO FOR COUNTY PROSECUTOR
Yesterday, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Jimmy Joe Small’s conviction for unlawful possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, a Level 4 Felony, and ordered Small released from custody because the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office “failed in its duty to closely monitor the progress of a speedy trial case.”
On August 17, 2017, the police arrested Jimmy Joe Small at a local motel. Inside the room, the police seized methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a .45 caliber pistol that was lying on the bedside table. Small, who had previously been convicted of Dealing in Methamphetamine, was prohibited from possessing any gun.
Small was charged with Count 1: Possession of a Firearm by a Serious Violent Felon, a Level 5 Felony; Count 2: Possession of Methamphetamine, a Level 5 Felony; Count 3: Unlawful Possession of a Syringe, a Level 6 Felony; Count 4: Possession of Methamphetamine, a Level 6 Felony; and Count 5: Maintaining a Common Nuisance, a Level 6 Felony. Small appeared in the Vanderburgh County Circuit Court on October 4, 2017, and demanded a “speedy trial” which meant that the Nick Hermann was required to bring this case to trial within seventy days. The Jury Trial was set to begin on December 13, 2017.
During the initial investigation, the police swabbed the handgun for possible DNA. NickHermann’s Office later obtained permission from the Court to take a sample of Small’s DNA for comparison testing purposes. Despite having permission, Nick Hermann’s Office did nothing to gather Small’s DNA until the week before the trial was set to start. On December 7, 2017, just six (6) days before trial, the Prosecutor’s Office continued the Trial over Small’s objection.
Small’s “speedy trial” began on February 12, 2018. Nick Hermann’s Office dismissed all of the drug charges on the morning of trial. The next day, the Jury announced that they had found Small guilty of the gun charge. The Court sentenced Small on March 12, 2018, to serve ten (10) years in prison.
On October 2, 2018, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued an opinion reversing Small’sconviction because of Nick Hermann’s incompetence. The Court of Appeals ruled that the Prosecutor’s Office failed to make a “reasonable effort” in obtaining Small’s DNA for testing purposes and then stated, “On the facts presented here, therefore, we believe the State’s actions suggest inattentiveness, rather than prudence, and we conclude the State failed in its duty to closely monitor the progress of a speedy trial case.”
Small can never be retried for possessing a firearm as a serious violent felon and he will not serve another day of his original ten (10) year sentence due to the bungling of this case by Nick Hermann and his Office.
For additional information or questions, please contact Stan Levco at 812-499-5613