ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE:
SUSAN D. RAYL STEVE CARTER
Indianapolis, Indiana Attorney General of Indiana
MICHAEL GENE WORDEN
Deputy Attorney General
COURT OF APPEALS OF INDIANA
DAVID COPELAND, )
vs. ) No. 49A02-0306-CR-522
STATE OF INDIANA, )
APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT
The Honorable Sheila A. Carlisle, Judge
Cause No. 49G17-0210-FD-293468
February 4, 2004
OPINION - FOR PUBLICATION
David Copeland was convicted after a bench trial of residential
entry, a Class D felony, and domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor.
He appeals, raising two issues:
1. Whether there was sufficient evidence to convict him of
residential entry; and
2. Whether the sentence he received was proper.
We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for resentencing.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Copeland and Sheila Copeland were divorced in August of 2000. Sheila
was awarded possession of the marital residence in the divorce, but she
allowed Copeland to live there intermittently until November of 2000.
On December 1, 2002, Copeland drove to Sheila’s house, knocked on the
door and asked to speak with her. Sheila stepped outside to talk with
Copeland and the two began to argue. Copeland grabbed Sheila by the
throat, opened the screen door, and pushed her back through the door and
into the house. Sheila broke free and ran to the bedroom where she woke a
friend who was staying with her. Copeland had words with Sheila and her
friend before leaving the house. Sheila told Copeland she was calling the
Marion County Deputy Sheriff William Carter arrived approximately
five minutes after Copeland left. He saw Sheila was upset and nervous and
had redness around her throat area. Deputy Carter found Copeland in a
nearby Kroger store and arrested him.
Copeland was sentenced to 365 days on the Class D felony with 363
days suspended, and to 365 days on the Class A misdemeanor, with 365 days
suspended and an additional 180 days of probation.
DISCUSSION AND DECISION
1. Sufficiency of the Evidence
Copeland asserts Sheila’s testimony was incredibly dubious and thus
there was insufficient evidence he committed the crime of residential
entry. Under the “incredible dubiosity” rule, a reviewing court will
impinge on the factfinder’s responsibility to judge the credibility of the
witness only when it has confronted inherently improbable testimony or
coerced, equivocal, wholly uncorroborated testimony of “incredible
dubiosity.” Stephenson v. State, 742 N.E.2d 463, 497 (Ind. 2001), cert.
denied 534 U.S. 1105 (2002). When a sole witness presents inherently
improbable testimony and there is a complete lack of circumstantial
evidence, a defendant’s conviction may be reversed. Id. at 497-98.
Application of this rule is rare; the standard to be applied is whether the
testimony is so incredibly dubious or inherently improbable that no
reasonable person could believe it. Id. at 498.
In reviewing sufficiency of the evidence, we will affirm a conviction
if, considering only the probative evidence and reasonable inferences
supporting the verdict, and without weighing evidence or assessing witness
credibility, a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that the defendant
was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Rogers v. State, 741 N.E.2d 395, 396
(Ind. Ct. App. 2000), reh’g denied, trans. denied 753 N.E.2d 16 (Ind.
In order to convict Copeland of residential entry, the State had to
prove he knowingly or intentionally broke into and entered Sheila’s
residence. Ind. Code § 35-43-2-1.5. The use of even the slightest force
to gain entry establishes the breaking element of this offense. Davis v.
State, 770 N.E.2d 319, 322 (Ind. 2002), reh’g denied.
Copeland argues Sheila’s testimony that he pushed her into the house
was “inherently improbable and runs against human experience.” (Br. of
Appellant at 6.) He points to one statement made by Sheila at trial.
Sheila initially testified Copeland pushed her into the house. She then
was asked “[a]nd can you tell me how hard he was holding onto you.” She
responded “Hard enough to hold me. I pushed him in the door.” (Tr. at 8.)
Copeland claims this response renders Sheila’s evidence equivocal and thus
there was insufficient evidence of residential entry.
However, other than that one ambiguous statement, Sheila’s testimony
as to what occurred was unequivocal. She initially testified “he grabbed
me around the throat and pushed me back into the house.” (Id. at 6.)
After stating she “pushed [Copeland] in the door,” Sheila testified “He was
shoving me in the door.” (Id. at 8.) She further testified Copeland
entered the house “by grabbing [me] by [the] throat and pushing me into the
door.” (Id. at 14.) She then testified Copeland opened the screen door
and pushed her and himself through it. Sheila stated a number of times
that Copeland pushed her through the door, and we decline to hold her one
statement that she “pushed him in the door” renders the entirety of her
testimony “incredibly dubious.”
The trial court sentenced Copeland as follows:
So I guess I am not inclined to find any aggravators in this case. As
a mitigator I would find that the Defendant is likely to respond
affirmatively to Probation, and I will sentence him as follows. On
Count I, Residential Entry as a Class D felony 365 days with 363
suspended. Credit for 2 actual days. 363 days on Probation with 26
weeks of domestic violence counseling. He is to continue his
treatment, his mental health treatment through Paul Aleksic and Dr.
Bose. . . . With regard to Count II, Domestic Battery, 365 days with
365 days suspended. 180 days Probation to run consecutive to Count I.
So he will be on Probation for a total of a year and a half.
(Tr. at 39-40.)
Copeland’s sentence for his D felony conviction was 365 days, with
363 days suspended. Pursuant to Ind. Code § 35-50-2-2(c), “whenever the
court suspends a sentence for a felony, it shall place the person on
probation under IC 35-38-2 for a fixed period to end not later than the
date that the maximum sentence that may be imposed for the felony will
expire.” The trial court could have placed Copeland on probation for an
additional two years, the remainder of the maximum three year sentence for
a Class D felony. However, it did not do so. Instead, it placed him on
probation for only 363 days.
The trial court then extended, by 180 days, Copeland’s probation for
his Class A misdemeanor conviction. When a trial court suspends any part
of a misdemeanor sentence, it may place the defendant on probation for a
period of not more than one year. Ind. Code § 35-50-3-1(b). However, the
combined term of imprisonment and probation cannot exceed one year. Id.
Our supreme court has held “a combined term of probation and
imprisonment exceeding one year is inconsistent with the maximum term
for conviction for a misdemeanor.” Smith v. State, 621 N.E.2d 325, 326
(Ind. 1993) (footnote supplied). See also Beck v. State, 790 N.E.2d 520,
522 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003).
By adding the 180-day term of probation to Copeland’s 365-day Class A
misdemeanor sentence, the trial court erred. We reverse the imposition of
a consecutive 180 day period of probation.
The record does not indicate whether the trial court ordered the
Class D felony and Class A misdemeanor sentences to be served
consecutively. We generally presume the trial court followed the law and
made the proper considerations in reaching its decision. Harris v. Smith,
752 N.E.2d 1283, 1291 (Ind. Ct. App. 2001), reh’g denied. In order to
impose consecutive sentences, a trial court must find at least one
aggravating factor. Jones v. State, 705 N.E.2d 452, 455 (Ind. 1999); Ind.
Code § 35-38-1-7.1(b). We must therefore presume the trial court did not
impose consecutive sentences in the absence of aggravating factors and the
sentences are to be concurrent, with Copeland serving 365 days on
Affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part.
BAKER, J., and NAJAM, J., concur.
 Ind. Code § 35-43-2-1.5.
 Ind. Code § 35-42-2-1.3.
 We find Copeland’s sentence was erroneous, but not for the reason
Copeland offers on appeal. Copeland argues that ordering him to serve 180
days probation consecutive to his probation on the Class D felony charge
was error, as the trial court found no aggravating factors. The State
notes Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2(c), the consecutive sentencing statute,
specifically refers to “terms of imprisonment,” and argues because Copeland
was sentenced to suspended sentences, the consecutive sentencing statute
does not apply. The State also argues the trial court was not obliged to
articulate mitigating or aggravating factors when sentencing on a
 We note that both the statute and Smith refer to combined terms of
probation and imprisonment. However, we believe this rule applies to both
executed and suspended terms of imprisonment. As noted in Beck v. State,
790 N.E.2d 520, 523 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003) (May, J. concurring in result), “A
365-day sentence, whether suspended or served in the Department of
Correction, is the ‘maximum sentence’ . . . A suspended sentence is one
actually imposed but the execution of which is thereafter suspended. Such
a sentence is ‘a definite sentence postponed so that the defendant is not
required to serve his time in prison unless he commits another crime or
violates some court-imposed condition[.]’” (Internal citation omitted.)