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COA instructs trial court to vacate 2 convictions of child molestation

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The Indiana Court of Appeals threw out two charges and sent a case back to the trial court after the state admitted that it did not intend to charge the defendant with four separate acts of child molestation.

Dennis Ray Smith was charged and convicted of two counts of Class A felony child molesting by sexual intercourse and two counts of Class A felony child molesting by sexual deviate conduct.

During a recorded interview with an Evansville police detective, Smith told the officer he had inappropriately touched his stepdaughter when she was 5 years old.

In Dennis Ray Smith v. State of Indiana, 82A01-1204-CR-175, Smith appealed his conviction on the grounds that his recorded statement to police should not have been admitted into evidence at trial because it was obtained in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights. He also argued that two of his convictions should be vacated because they violate Indiana’s prohibition against double jeopardy.

The COA affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded with instructions.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling to admit the recorded statement into evidence during the trial. It found Smith made the statement voluntarily and did not make an unequivocal request for an attorney.

However, the COA disagreed with the state that Smith waived any claim about the recorded statement because he failed to make a contemporaneous objection at trial. The court found that while the defense counsel raising his objection during a bench conference was not typical, it was sufficient to alert the trial court that the defense was objecting and why.

Also, the COA remanded with instructions to vacate the two counts of Class A felony child molesting by sexual deviate conduct. The state conceded it did not intend to charge Smith with four separate acts of child molestation, saying it was pleading in the alternative when it charged Smith with two counts of engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor and with two courts of child molesting by sexual deviate conduct.


 

 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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