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Pre-trial ID of attacker allowed at trial

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The trial court didn’t err in allowing a victim’s pre-trial identification of his attacker, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today in a matter of first impression.

Anthony Neukam attacked his former girlfriend’s new boyfriend, Carlos Aquino, putting Aquino in the hospital. The two have never met but Aquino recognized Neukam from photos in the girlfriend’s home and on the girlfriend’s MySpace page. Aquino told police it was Neukam who attacked him. Police got a print of Neukam’s photo from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and showed the photo to Aquino; he confirmed that was the man who attacked him.

Before his trial for battery and criminal mischief started, Neukam filed a motion to suppress the out-of-court identification, which the trial court denied. He was convicted of both charges.

In Anthony E. Neukam v. State of Indiana, No. 16A01-1002-CR-50, Neukam argues the identification process was unduly suggestive because the police officer showed Aquino only one photo that had Neukam’s name on it. Even though he failed to object at trial to the identification evidence and waived his claim on appeal, the Court of Appeals addressed it and found he wouldn’t have prevailed.

Aquino wasn’t identifying an unknown assailant and told police who his attacker was right after he was attacked. Only after Aquino said who his attacker was did police show him Neukam’s photo, wrote Judge Paul Mathias.

There isn’t any other Indiana case on this point, but using a case out of Kansas, State v. Franklin, 121 P.3d 447, 453 (Kan. 2005), they found the identification evidence to be properly admitted.

“The police showed Aquino Neukam’s BMV photograph, not so that Aquino could identify an unknown assailant, but simply to confirm that the Anthony Neukam Aquino identified was the same person as the defendant. Under these circumstances, we cannot say that this identification was impermissibly suggestive,” wrote the judge.

The appellate court also found sufficient evidence to support Neukam’s convictions.

 

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  1. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  3. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  4. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  5. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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