Judge denies former Sheriff Rosenstine's request to reduce felony charge

A judge ruled against former Kosciusko County Sheriff Aaron Rovenstine's request to reduce his level 6 felony conviction to a misdemeanor.

Rovenstine pleaded guilty to intimidation, a class D felony, following a plea agreement on May 23, 2017.

As a result of the plea agreement, eight other felony charges were dismissed.

Rovenstine was sentenced to one year in jail with the jail term suspended on 36 days reporting probation. He was also ordered to perform 250 hours of community service restitution and to participate in the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program.

On May 16, 2018, Rovenstine filed a petition for alternate misdemeanor sentencing treatment.

The state objected and the matter was sent for a hearing. The hearing was held in June 2018 and the decision was held until Rovenstine completed all terms of his sentence.

On September 24, Rovenstine completed all of the terms of his sentence and two days later moved for the ruling on his petition.

Rovenstine's petition was denied.

One of the requirements for the alternative misdemeanor sentencing is the request is made three years after the defendant's sentence is complete. Rovenstine requested the petition immediately after his sentence was complete.

Another option for reducing the charge is if certain conditions are met. The judge noted the conditions were not specified in the plea agreement.

Finally, the judge considered the merits of reducing Rovenstine's conviction from a Class D felony to a Class A misdemeanor.

The court noted up until his conviction, Rovenstine had led an exemplary life of service, including two terms as the sheriff and service to his community through church and his service club. Rovenstine also appeared to be remorseful for his conduct.

However the court also considered the aggravating factors.

The judge wrote Rovenstine's conduct was an "Egregious breach of the public trust that comes from the elected sheriff committing a felony offense against another law enforcement officer."

Rovenstine's conduct was not an isolated incident, but his position was used to create personal and professional difficulties for the victim, the judge wrote.

When originally sentenced, the court did not reduce his conviction to a misdemeanor because of the seriousness of the offense.

After considering all of the factors, the judge noted if Rovenstine's sentence was reduced to a class A misdemeanor, his record could be expunged and could potentially run for office again.

In his ruling, Judge Steven Bowers wrote, "This court is unwilling to reduce Defendant's conviction to a misdemeanor if doing so would allow him to ever again run for political office in the State of Indiana. The Court is similarly unwilling to reduce the Defendant's conviction to a misdemeanor if doing so would potentially lead to the expungement of any conviction record in this case. Only if these impediments were removed and all the requirements of I.C. 35-50-2-7 were met, would the Court consider reduction of the conviction to a Class A misdemeanor."

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