ILNews

COA rules minors must be active participants to meet statute’s definition of ‘child exploitation’

Marilyn Odendahl
January 25, 2013
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A man who secretly photographed minor girls in their underwear is not guilty of child exploitation because those girls were not intentionally exhibiting themselves, a divided Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

David Delagrange was convicted of four counts of Class C felony attempted child exploitation after he was caught surreptitiously photographing underneath the skirts of several females, including four minors. Delagrange had outfitted his shoe with a video camera and went to Castleton Square Mall to take pictures of panties, boots, and high heels of adult women.

Delagrange appealed on the grounds the trial court erred when it denied his motion for directed verdict. He argued the charging information does not constitute crimes of attempted child exploitation.  

The COA reversed the four counts of child exploitation and remanded to the trial court for proceedings.

For its ruling in David Delagrange v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1203-CR-144, the COA turned its attention to Ind. Code 35-42-4-4(b)(1). The court focused on the definitions of “sexual conduct” and the phrase “by a child.”

The majority found “the phrasing of the statute demands the child be performing the sexual conduct, which herein required the child be exhibiting her uncovered genitals with the intent to satisfy someone’s sexual desires.” Because the state did not present any evidence that the victims intentionally exhibited themselves, the trial court should have directed a not guilty verdict.

Judge Edward Najam Jr. dissented, arguing that the phrase, “sexual conduct by a child,” does not mandate any active participation by the minor.

“...the child exploitation statute cannot be interpreted to require that a child be an active participant in the exhibition of her genitals or that the child have the intent to satisfy sexual desires,” Najam wrote. “Such an interpretation improperly focuses the elements of the crime on the actions of the child and undermines the very foundation of the statute, which was designed to protect children.”


 

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  1. 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.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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