Court reverses felony convictions stemming from domestic incident

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The state didn’t provide sufficient evidence to support convictions of Class D felony strangulation and domestic battery, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday. The court did order the domestic battery conviction entered as a Class A misdemeanor.

Blanca Medrano took her infant child with her across the street from the apartment she shared with James Young and their two children. She was crying and had minor injuries, so firefighters asked her what was wrong. She told them that her husband had beaten her about 15 minutes ago and left with their other child. The firefighters called police, and an hour later, Elkhart City Police Corporal Laurie Stuff arrived. She interviewed Medrano, who at that point was no longer crying and seemed antsy to leave.

Stuff also saw bruising and redness on Medrano’s neck and saw the bandage put on her hand by the firefighters. Young arrived shortly after Stuff. Stuff spoke to him and Young said he and Medrano had gotten into a verbal argument. He was arrested and charged with Class D felony strangulation, based on what Medrano told Stuff; and Class D felony domestic battery, elevated from a misdemeanor because children were believed to be present.

Young was convicted of both counts. Medrano did not testify and could not be found for the trial, so the firefighters and Stuff testified regarding Medrano’s prior statements.

Young argues that even though Medrano’s statements to the firefighters were excited utterances, in this case, her statements violate his constitutional rights under the Sixth Amendment.

“…we hold that the primary purpose of the firefighters’ questioning of Medrano was to enable public, government assistance to Medrano in an ongoing emergency rather than to prove past events potentially relevant to future criminal prosecution. Therefore, the admission of Medrano’s statements to the firefighters did not violate Young’s confrontation rights under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Judge Paul Mathias wrote in James O. Young v. State of Indiana, 20A04-1112-CR-699.

The judges found that Medrano’s statements to Stuff were not an excited utterance as it had been nearly an hour before Stuff spoke to Medrano after the alleged battery, she was antsy to leave, and had stopped crying at some point. Stuff’s testimony that Medrano said Young had strangled her was the only evidence to support Young’s conviction. The judges reversed but found he could be subject to retrial on the charge.

There also isn’t sufficient evidence to show that the battery happened in front of the children, the judges found, so they ordered Young’s Class D felony domestic battery conviction reduced to a Class A misdemeanor.



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  2. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

  3. (A)ll (C)riminals (L)ove (U)s is up to their old, "If it's honorable and pro-American, we're against it," nonsense. I'm not a big Pence fan but at least he's showing his patriotism which is something the left won't do.

  4. While if true this auto dealer should be held liable, where was the BMV in all of this? How is it that the dealer was able to get "clean" titles to these vehicles in order to sell them to unsuspecting consumers?

  5. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless [ ] Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. GOD BLESS THE GOVERNORS RESISTING! Count on the gutless judiciary to tie our children down and facilitate the swords being drawn across their throats. Wake Up America ...