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Appeals court affirms molestation conviction

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A child molestation conviction will stand after the Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday rejected a defendant’s arguments that the conviction should be reversed because of a prosecutor’s references to the defendant's failure to testify and that the evidence was insufficient.

The court affirmed Dennis Feyka’s Class A felony child molestation conviction for molesting a 10-year-old girl during a sleepover his daughter was hosting.

Feyka argued the prosecutor’s comments during closing argument were fundamental error.

“We cannot say the references to Feyka’s failure to testify were fundamental error,” Judge Melissa May wrote for the unanimous panel.

Feyka also raised inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony, including evidence that the victim told an investigator that she didn’t know whether the incident was real or a dream. She testified at trial that she knew it was real.

The victim’s “testimony provided ample evidence to support Feyka’s conviction,” May wrote. “The uncorroborated testimony of the victim, even if the victim is a minor, is sufficient to sustain a conviction of child molesting, Morrison v. State, 462 N.E.2d 78, 79 (Ind. 1984), and it is within the province of the trier of fact to reject evidence to the contrary. See, e.g., Bennett v. State, 409 N.E.2d 1189, 1191 (Ind. Ct. App. 1980) (conflict between the State’s case and a defendant’s alibi is a matter to be resolved by the jury, whose decision will not be overturned on appeal if there is substantial evidence of probative value in the record to support it).”

“We must decline Feyka’s invitation to invade the province of the jury by reweighing the evidence and reassessing witness credibility,” May wrote.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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