Indiana Supreme Court Reduces Drug Sentence and Orders Defendant’s Removal From DOC

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The Indiana Lawyer on 1-2-2019 by Olivia Covington

Finding the circumstances of an Orange County case to be “exceptional,” a majority of the Indiana Supreme Court has reduced a woman’s sentence and ordered that she be removed from the Department of Correction and instead placed in community corrections. A dissenting justice would have denied transfer of the case.

Friday’s decision in Lisa Livingston v. State of Indiana, 18S-CR-623, stems from Lisa Livingston’s August 2013 arrest on drug charges. Police received a tip that Livingston was making and dealing meth from her home, and a subsequent search revealed several baggies of meth, one baggie of cocaine and other items used in the production of meth.

After being charged with five drug counts and allegations that she was a habitual substance offender, Livingston posted bond and was released to Bliss House, a substance abuse recovery home where she first took up residence in November 2013. She then began filing a series of 10 motions to continue her trial over the next four years, each of which was granted without state objection.

Livingston remained at Bliss House for one year before moving to a transitional home for two years, eventually becoming the chair of the Bliss House alumni and serving on its committee. She also started a roofing business with her nephew and used her money to open BreakAway Home, a Floyd County home for women recovering from addictions.

Then, after being denied placement in a pre-trial detention program, Livingston voluntarily joined a Floyd County Community Corrections program, where she reported twice a week and successfully passed all of her random drug screens. She eventually pleaded guilty to all of the charges against her without a plea agreement in October 2017 and asked that she be allowed to serve her sentence in community corrections.