ILNews

COA revises child molesting sentence

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man's convictions of child molesting, but reduced his sentence because he can't be considered among the worst offenders to justify the maximum sentence.

In Paul L. Mishler v. State, No. 20A03-0712-CR-577, Paul Mishler appealed his convictions of two counts of molesting his girlfriend's grade-school age daughter and his 50-year aggregate sentence. Mishler argued his victim's pretrial statements and videotaped interview shouldn't have been admitted into trial because they were inadmissible under the Protected Person Statute and he didn't have the opportunity to confront the accuser. 

The Court of Appeals disagreed, finding the child's pretrial statements and videotaped interview did fall under the Protected Person Statute because nothing suggests the child was coached into giving her statements and she made the statements within hours after the allegations of the crime came to light, wrote Chief Judge John Baker.

Mishler's argument that he was denied his right to confront the victim fails because the victim testified at the Protected Person hearing, at Mishler's trial, and was available for cross-examination. The ruling in Crawford v. Washington, 124 S.Ct. 1354 (2004), only applies to a non-testifying witness' out-of-court testimonial statement, wrote the chief judge.

The appellate court found the sentence to be inappropriate given the nature of the offenses and Mishler's character. The sentencing range for a Class A felony is 20 to 50 years in prison, with the maximum sentence generally being reserved for the worst offenders. Mishler was sentenced to 50 years in prison on both Class A child molesting counts, with the sentences to run concurrently. However, given the fact he has a limited criminal history and the amount of time that has passed since his juvenile adjudication in 1991 for three acts that would be child molesting if committed by an adult, the Court of Appeals can't categorize Mishler as one of the worst offenders, wrote Chief Judge Baker. The appellate court remanded the case to the trial court to revise the sentence to 38 years on each count to run concurrently.

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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