COA: Let a sex offender stipulate

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A convicted sex offender accused of failing to register will get a new trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

The unanimous three-judge panel in Darrick T. McClain v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-0808-CR-428, reversed and remanded McClain's jury trial conviction for failing to register as a sex offender, finding the Allen Superior Court abused its discretion.

Convicted of sexual battery in 1999, McClain was required to register with police and he did that in March 2007, listing his sister's Fort Wayne home as his new address. His sister later saw her address listed on the online sex offender registry and informed police that McClain wasn't living there; he was eventually charged.

At trial, he offered to stipulate to his sex offender status and to the fact that he'd listed his sister's home address on his registration form. But the state didn't agree, and entered into evidence over McClain's objection the registration form that also included details about his prior sex offense.

But turning to U.S. Supreme Court precedent in Old Chief v. United States, 519 U.S. 172, 190 (1997), the appellate panel found that the lower court should not have admitted the form into evidence because it was prejudicial. Not admitting it at trial would not have interfered with the state's ability to prove that McClain was a sex offender required to register - as he'd offered to stipulate.

"Here, we also find the reasoning in Old Chief applies and hold that McClain's offer to stipulate that he is a sex offender precludes admission of the registration form at trial," the court wrote. "The prejudicial impact of the details of his sexual battery conviction is clear, and that evidence has no probative value in relation to the instant offense."

Since several witnesses testified at trial that McClain was residing with his sister when he filled out the form, the court determined it couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the probable impact of the prejudicial evidence didn't affect the jury and McClain's rights.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.