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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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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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