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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. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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