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COA: Rule of incredible dubiosity not applicable

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man's domestic battery conviction and sentence, concluding his wife's testimony about the altercation wasn't subject to the rule of incredible dubiosity.

In Shean West v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0812-CR-1084, Shean West argued because his wife's testimony contained some discrepancies compared to the police officer who testified at West's trial, the rule of incredible dubiosity should discredit Peggy West's testimony.

The appellate court concluded the rule of incredible dubiosity isn't necessarily rendered inapplicable merely because there is more than one witness who testifies for the state, wrote Senior Judge Patrick Sullivan. Peggy testified the altercation with her husband escalated from inside their apartment to outside near his truck and that he pushed her with such force she hit her head on the top of the truck and it hurt badly. The police officer testified Peggy knocked on his car window and told him that West had pushed her and she hit her head. He stated she didn't have visible injuries and she didn't want medical attention.

Peggy's testimony wasn't so incredibly dubious or inherently improbable that no reasonable trier of fact could believe it and her testimony shouldn't be disregarded merely because it doesn't precisely match other evidence or contains some discrepancies, wrote the senior judge.

"The standard for the rule is 'inherent contradiction' in the testimony of the witness under consideration, not whether that testimony may be in contradiction to the testimony of other witnesses," wrote Judge Sullivan.

The fact the police officer didn't see any visible injuries or bruises on Peggy doesn't detract from her testimony regarding hitting her head on the truck when West pushed her.

The appellate court declined to view Peggy's testimony in light of the officer's because that would be reweighing the evidence and assessing her credibility.

"Even were we to do so and note that Peggy West's trial testimony was more extensive as to the events which transpired than what she specifically told Officer Gates, such difference or differences do not indicate that her testimony is in contradiction to the testimony of the Officer," he wrote.

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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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