ILNews

Negative drug test, prior accusations don’t change molester’s convictions

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Monday affirmed the child molesting convictions and 30-year sentence of a man who claimed he was prejudiced because the trial court declined to admit a drug test from the victim showing she had no marijuana in her system.

The 11-year-old victim told authorities that John Barnhart, her mother’s live-in boyfriend, had molested her. She also claimed he had given her marijuana several times, including the night before he molested her.

Barnhart was convicted of two counts of Class A felony child molesting and Class A misdemeanor marijuana possession, but he was found not guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was sentenced to an aggregate 30 years in prison.

At trial in Noble Superior Court, the state’s motion to exclude the evidence of the drug test was granted over Barnhart’s objection. Barnhart said the test results went to the victim’s credibility.

In  John Barnhart v. State of Indiana, 57A04-1312-CR-601, the appeals court noted the evidence against Barnhart supporting his convictions included his sperm on the child’s bed sheet.

"Even assuming that the court abused its discretion, we cannot say that Barnhart’s substantial rights were affected. The evidence directly related to Count IV, contributing to the delinquency of a minor as a class A misdemeanor, of which the jury found Barnhart not guilty," Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the panel.

Barnhart also was unable to persuade the appellate court that the trial court erred in considering accusations for prior uncharged acts at sentencing.

“Even assuming that the trial court abused its discretion with respect to acknowledging Barnhart’s knowledge of prior accusations, we observe that the court also found three other aggravators which Barnhart does not challenge,” Brown wrote. "In light of the remaining aggravators, we can say with confidence that the trial court would have imposed the same advisory and concurrent sentences for Counts I and II had it considered only these aggravators.”
 

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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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