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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. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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