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COA: Jury adequately instructed on presumption of innocence

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that his child molestation conviction should be reversed because the trial court did not tender his jury instruction on the presumption of innocence. The judges found the court’s instruction adequately instructed the jury.

In Stephen Brakie v. State of Indiana, 65A05-1304-CR-172, Stephen Brakie was convicted of Class A felony child molesting for inserting a screwdriver into the vagina of a 4-year-old, causing significant tearing and bleeding.

“Here, we find that the court’s instructions adequately instructed the jury on the presumption of innocence,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote. “Specifically, the court instructed the jury that under the law of this State a person charged with a crime is presumed to be innocent and that ‘[y]ou should attempt to fit the evidence to the presumption that Stephen J. Brakie is innocent … .’  This instruction satisfied the Indiana Supreme Court’s holding in Robey that the jury should fit the evidence to the presumption that a defendant is innocent.”

The judges also held that there was sufficient evidence to support the molestation conviction. Brakie had argued that victim N.J. had told three different stories as to what happened. The court noted that this is an issue of witness credibility and it is up to the jury to weigh witness credibility.
 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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