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Man’s molestation post-conviction bid fails on appeal

December 19, 2013

A Morgan County man failed to convince a Court of Appeals panel that ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct should entitle him to relief from a child molestation conviction.

In William Hinesley, III v. State of Indiana, 55A05-1302-PC-80, Hinesley appealed denial of post-conviction relief from the Class A felony conviction for which he was sentenced to an aggregate term of 25 years in prison. He claimed his counsel failed to object to hearsay and double-hearsay from police regarding what witnesses said.

But the panel noted that Hinesley’s defender testified to the post-conviction court that he didn’t object because he was pursuing a strategy of presenting the varying accounts of key witnesses to the alleged molestation, including Hinesley’s son.

“We cannot say that the post-conviction court erred when it concluded that defense counsel’s trial strategy was reasonable under the unique circumstances of this case,” Judge Terry Crone wrote for the panel that also ruled Hinesley had waived his claim of prosecutorial misconduct.

Hinesley also objected to his attorney’s failure to introduce the medical report from a physical examination of the victim taken the day after the molestation that Hinesley claimed would have helped his case. “We cannot say that the medical report has the same exculpatory value that Hinesley now assigns it such that the result of the trial would have been different had counsel introduced it,” Crone wrote.

The panel also rejected Hinesley’s argument that the cumulative impact of his counsel’s poor decisions prejudiced his case. Hinesley cannot demonstrate the trial would have been different absent the claimed errors, Crone wrote.

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