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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. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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