ILNews

Closed-circuit testimony not unconstitutional

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a man who repeatedly molested a young girl was not deprived of his right to cross-examine his accuser when she testified via closed-circuit television.

In Hane C. Harris v. State of Indiana, No. 18A04-1108-CR-391, Hane Harris was charged two counts of Class A felony child molesting, one count of Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony child solicitation stemming from his sexual abuse of his girlfriend’s daughter. The jury found him guilty, except for one count of Class A felony child molesting, and also found Harris to be a habitual offender.  

Harris shared an apartment with his girlfriend and her daughter, T.D.S, when the child was between ages 7 and 8. He molested T.D.S. repeatedly, threatening to kill her and her mother if she told anyone. T.D.S. told her grandmother about the abuse when she was 9 years old, and a subsequent physical examination revealed evidence of her allegations.

Harris was sentenced to 81 years, with 79 years executed. On appeal, he claimed he was denied his right to confrontation because T.D.S. was allowed to testify via closed-circuit television. He also contended that the trial court erred in imposing consecutive sentences.

The appellate court held that based on the testimony of a psychiatrist and the child’s grandmother, the state was able to show that T.D.S. was a protected person who, if required to testify in-person, could suffer serious psychological trauma. Although she was not present in the courtroom, the defense was still able to cross-examine her via closed-circuit television.

Harris also argued that the court failed to articulate why it was imposing consecutive sentences. The COA held that a trial court need only find one aggravating factor to impose consecutive sentences, and Harris had seven aggravators, including 10 prior felony convictions and 10 misdemeanor convictions. While the appellate court affirmed the length of his sentence, it remanded to the trial court, holding that the habitual offender finding is an enhancement to his sentence, and not a separate offense, as the trial court recorded.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
2015 Distinguished Barrister &
Up and Coming Lawyer Reception

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 • 4:30 - 7:00 pm
Learn More


ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

ADVERTISEMENT