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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. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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