Appeals panel affirms molester’s dissemination sentence, refines scope of ‘performance’

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A man who molested children in his home lost his appeal on the argument that showing children pornographic images on a cellphone and exposing himself to them was not a public performance.

Rodney Melton was convicted in Marion Superior Court of Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors and sentenced to an aggregate 11 years in prison. The Indiana Court of Appeals on Wednesday affirmed his convictions and sentence.

In Rodney Melton v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1212-CR-1008, Melton didn’t challenge the more severe molestation conviction, but noted that the language governing the dissemination of matter harmful to minors statute in I.C. 35-49-3-3 requires a “performance … performed before an audience of one (1) or more persons.”
Melton argued that because his acts took place in a private area, he didn’t engage in a “performance.”

Melton cited Low v. State, 580 N.E.2d 737 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991), in which the appeals panel reversed a conviction of obscene performance for an escort arrested after an encounter with an undercover Carmel police officer when the department staged a sting operation.

“We find that case distinguishable,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the panel. “As pointed out by the State, Low did not involve an appeal from a conviction for dissemination of matter harmful to minors. Rather, Low involved two adults in a hotel room and a charge of an obscene performance.”

Also citing the dissent in Riffel v. State, 549 N.E.2d 1084 (Ind. Ct. App. 1990), trans. denied, Brown wrote, “there is no requirement in the statute defining performance that the performance take place in public.”

The court also rejected Melton’s argument that his sentence was inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of the offense, citing his “serious and escalating criminal history despite his young age, and the depravity of the offenses.”


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues