Anthony Hutchens loses appeal, will remain sentenced as adult in New Carlisle murder
Nearly a year since he was convicted of strangling and molesting a child in New Carlisle, 17-year-old Anthony Hutchens will stay under the auspices of the adult justice system.
That’s per a ruling this month from the Indiana Court of Appeals which found that St. Joseph County magistrate Graham Polando was justified in his decision to push Anthony’s case out of juvenile court back in 2022.
At the time, Polando ruled that the juvenile justice system could not provide the services and sentence to match the severity of Anthony’s offenses.
Anthony was 14 when he killed 6-year-old Grace Ross in March of 2021 and his attorneys have consistently tried to have the case decided in juvenile court saying Anthony has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD.
Anthony could appeal again to the state’s supreme court but for now, he remains in a juvenile facility run by the Department of Corrections. When the boy turns 18, there will be a hearing to determine if he should remain in the juvenile facility until he is 21 or if he should be placed in an adult prison. Hutchens was sentenced to a total of 64 years in prison for the two crimes.
If Anthony’s conviction were under the juvenile system, his sentenced would likely be less severe.
However, the appeals court found “the horrific nature of Hutchen’s crimes supports a conclusion that waiving him into adult court best serves the safety and welfare of the community.”
Indiana law states that if a person is 12 or older and there's probable cause the child committed murder, they should be moved to the adult system, "unless it would be in the best interests of the child and of the safety and welfare of the community for the child to remain within the juvenile justice system."
In it's unanimous ruling, the appeals court reiterated the burden of showing how the interests of the child and the community would be best served keeping the case in juvenile court fall on the defendant.