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COA overturns conviction, ruling statements about age not relevant for treatment

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A Marion County man had his conviction overturned after the Indiana Court of Appeals found a social worker’s statements about his age were hearsay because they were not made specifically for a medical purpose.

Verdyer Clark was convicted of battery as a Class D felony pursuant to I.C. 35-42-2-1(a)(2)(B) which requires the state prove the battery resulted in bodily injury to a person less than 14-years-old and was committed by a person at least 18-years-old.

As evidence of Clark’s age, the state offered two documents prepared by a social worker who interviewed Deanna Drain, the mother of the injured infant. One document, “Preliminary Report of Alleged Child Abuse or Neglect,” listed Clark as “Other Person Responsible for Child(ren)” and showed his age as 23. The other document, “Social Work ED Assessment Plan Final Report,” noted the “Mother has a boyfriend of 9 months Verdyer Clark age 23.”

Clark appealed on the grounds the state did not prove its case because the only evidence it offered that he was over 18 at the time of the crime was inadmissible hearsay. The COA agreed in Verdyer Clark v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1202-CR-66. It reversed and remanded so the state could decide whether to retry Clark.

The state asserted the social worker’s statements were admissible under Evidence Rule 803(4) which excludes from the hearsay rule statements for the purposes of medical diagnosis and treatment.

However, the COA dismissed that argument, finding it was not apparent that the social worker made the statement about Clark’s age for the purpose of receiving medical diagnosis or treatment.

Citing State v. Velasquez, 944 N.E.2d 34, 40 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011), the court noted that in order for statements to be admissible under Evidence Rule 803(4), they need not be in furtherance of diagnosis and treatment. Rather, the statements must be relied on either to render a diagnosis or provide treatment.
 
Consequently, the court found the evidence of Clark’s age was not “reasonably pertinent” to the diagnosis or treatment of the infant victim. The information about Clark’s age had no apparent relevance to a diagnosis of the child’s injuries, so the social worker’s statements were not admissible under the Rule 803(4) hearsay exception.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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