COA: Jury adequately instructed on presumption of innocence

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that his child molestation conviction should be reversed because the trial court did not tender his jury instruction on the presumption of innocence. The judges found the court’s instruction adequately instructed the jury.

In Stephen Brakie v. State of Indiana, 65A05-1304-CR-172, Stephen Brakie was convicted of Class A felony child molesting for inserting a screwdriver into the vagina of a 4-year-old, causing significant tearing and bleeding.

“Here, we find that the court’s instructions adequately instructed the jury on the presumption of innocence,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote. “Specifically, the court instructed the jury that under the law of this State a person charged with a crime is presumed to be innocent and that ‘[y]ou should attempt to fit the evidence to the presumption that Stephen J. Brakie is innocent … .’  This instruction satisfied the Indiana Supreme Court’s holding in Robey that the jury should fit the evidence to the presumption that a defendant is innocent.”

The judges also held that there was sufficient evidence to support the molestation conviction. Brakie had argued that victim N.J. had told three different stories as to what happened. The court noted that this is an issue of witness credibility and it is up to the jury to weigh witness credibility.


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  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon