ILNews

Majority upholds violent sexual predator finding

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An Indiana Court of Appeals panel disagreed as to whether the failure of a defendant’s counsel to press for the statutory requirement for a hearing on a sexually violent predator finding was a procedural default that waived the appellate court’s consideration of the issue.

In Matthew A. Baugh v. State of Indiana, No. 18A04-0911-CR-621, the majority determined Matthew Baugh waived his claim that the trial court failed to comply with the statutory requirements for making a sexually violent predator determination. Chief Judge John Baker and Judge Terry Crone ruled the issue waived because Baugh failed to object to the determination at sentencing.

Baugh was evaluated by two doctors, who determined he suffered from a personality disorder and was likely to re-offend. The trial court reviewed the doctors’ reports and found Baugh was a sexually violent predator within the meaning of the statute.

Judge Carr Darden dissented, writing, “Given the nature of the offenses constituting Baugh’s criminal history, I believe that consequences as severe as the ‘violent sexual predator’ label and the lifetime registration requirement should subject the doctors’ conclusions to the crucible of cross-examination.”

Judge Darden found the matter to be a fundamental error and questioned how a constitutionally competent attorney could allow his client to suffer the consequences Baugh did without advising him of the statutorily required hearing. The judge wanted the trial court to conduct a hearing with the doctors or inform Baugh of the statutory requirement for the hearing and get an express waiver of the experts testifying at the hearing.

The appellate court affirmed Baugh’s consecutive sentences for two convictions of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor. The judges also held his convictions don’t violate the Indiana Constitution’s prohibition of double jeopardy.
 

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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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