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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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