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. 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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