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Judges reverse felony sexual battery conviction

February 7, 2012

Because the state didn’t prove an essential element needed to convict a man of Class D felony sexual battery, the Indiana Court of Appeals threw out his conviction. But there was enough evidence to support convicting the man of Class B misdemeanor battery.

In Mitchell A. McCarter v. State of Indiana, No. 26A04-1106-CR-409, Mitchell McCarter struck up a conversation with a teenage girl in Wal-Mart. He led her to believe he was a police officer and told her he could keep her out of trouble. The teen’s friend had tried to shoplift from the store and was being detained at the time McCarter began talking to the teen. He tried to get her to sit in his car and talk and got her to give him a kiss on the cheek. When she kissed him, McCarter grabbed her closer and tried to kiss her and put his hands on her and grabbed her buttocks.

He appealed his conviction of Class D felony sexual battery, arguing that force – which is needed to convict someone of the charge – wasn't proved because the teen was never afraid and he didn’t use force in his interaction with her.

The judges found the state didn’t prove the element of whether D.H. perceived she was compelled to submit to the groping through force or the threat of force, so they reversed his conviction. But there is enough evidence to support a lesser charge. The COA ordered the trial court enter a judgment for Class B misdemeanor battery and resentence McCarter.
 

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