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Appellate court orders new trial in child molesting case

January 27, 2012

A man who was convicted of Class C felony child molesting is entitled to a new trial, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In Bradley Bradford v. State of Indiana, No. 59A01-1104-CR-215, Bradley Bradford had been convicted of molesting his niece in a hotel room where he, his then-wife and other children were staying during a family vacation. Bradford’s niece, A.T., reported the incident to her mother upon returning home to Marion, Ind. After an investigation by the police and the Department of Child Services, Bradford was arrested on the molestation charge.

At trial, the DCS caseworker who interviewed A.T. testified that the abuse allegation was substantiated. Bradford objected, arguing that the caseworker’s testimony violated Indiana Evidence Rule 704(b), which states: “[w]itnesses may not testify to opinions concerning intent, guilt, or innocence in a criminal case; the truth or falsity of allegations; whether a witness has testified truthfully; or legal conclusions.”

The COA agreed, holding that admission of that testimony likely had a prejudicial impact on the jury. It reversed Bradford’s conviction and remanded for retrial.

 

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