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Despite objections, molester can’t appeal prior physical abuse testimony

December 13, 2013

Objections made to a line of questioning at a man’s child molestation trial that he had previously assaulted the victim and the victim’s mother didn’t properly preserve the issue, a Court of Appeals panel ruled Friday in affirming his conviction.

In John Everitt Dickey v. State of Indiana, 10A01-1212-CR-587, the appellate panel affirmed John Everitt Dickey’s two Class A felony convictions and a 45-year sentence imposed after a Clark Circuit jury found him guilty.  

Before the trial, Dickey filed a motion in limine seeking to block evidence of prior bad acts. His counsel also twice objected to a line of questioning about when his relationship with the victim’s mother began to change.

But Judge Paul Mathias wrote for the panel that Dickey didn’t object later to questions about the abuse, and his counsel didn’t request a continuing objection.

A footnote to the six-page opinion notes a coming rule change  that might have resulted in a different outcome.

“We note that our Supreme Court has amended Indiana Evidence Rule 103(b), effective January 1, 2014, to provide: ‘Once the court rules definitively on the record at trial a party need not renew an objection or offer of proof to preserve a claim of error for appeal.’ ... As this rule amendment was not in effect at the time of Dickey’s trial, it is inapplicable to the present case,” Mathias wrote for the panel that also included Judges Edward Najam and Elaine Brown.  
 

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