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COA: Glove not enough to convict man of burglary

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Worried that upholding a man’s conviction based solely on DNA presence on a glove found at a crime scene would create a precedent for criminals to frame someone else, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a burglary conviction out of St. Joseph County.  

In Martin Meehan v. State of Indiana, 71A04-1209-CR-453, Martin Meehan was convicted of Class C felony burglary and found to be a habitual offender for the burglary of O.J.S. Building Services in South Bend. Police found a glove at the crime scene and testing revealed DNA that matched Martin Meehan. That was the only evidence police had that implicated Meehan. He denied involvement in the burglary.

Judge Terry Crone noted that there has been no case determining whether the presence of a defendant’s DNA on an object left at the crime scene – standing alone – is sufficient to prove he or she committed the offense. The parties offered up related cases, but those don’t support Meehan’s conviction.

“In sum, in all the cases discussed, there was eyewitness or circumstantial evidence that explained how the DNA or fingerprint evidence ended up at the crime scene. In these cases, the totality of the circumstances made it unlikely that there was an innocent explanation for the presence of the DNA or fingerprint evidence at the scene,” Crone wrote.

“In many cases, DNA is compelling evidence of identity. In this case, however, there was no evidence that would support an inference that Meehan’s DNA was found on the glove because he handled it during the burglary, as opposed to some other time.”

The guilty verdict was based on speculation and must be reversed, the judges held.

“Were we to affirm, we would be creating a precedent that would make it relatively easy for criminals to frame other individuals; all they would need to do is obtain an object with someone else’s DNA and leave it at the crime scene,” he wrote.

 

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  • Excellent Judgement
    I have critisized the COA many times, but my last post two posts praise the COA for seeing that justice was done!

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  1. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

  2. What a fine example of the best of the Hoosier tradition! How sad that the AP has to include partisan snark in the obit for this great American patriot and adventurer.

  3. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  4. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  5. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

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