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Court upholds man’s molestation convictions

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Finding no juror misconduct or any fundamental error in the admission of certain testimony during a man’s trial for molesting his daughter, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld his multiple molestation convictions. He will also have to file a petition for post-conviction relief to challenge his habitual offender adjudication.

Brandon Robey was found guilty of four counts of Class A felony child molesting and two counts of Class C felony child molesting for molesting his six-year-old daughter, A.P. After trial, he admitted that he was a habitual offender and habitual substance offender, and he was sentenced to an aggregate term of 110 years.

But in Brandon Robey v. State of Indiana, 12A02-1306-CR-502, Robey argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion to correct error on the basis of alleged juror misconduct. Juror John Brannan knew of Robey from his previous employment at the county jail. Brannan did not work there when Robey was incarcerated on the molestation charges.

After he was convicted, two other jurors had a conversation on Facebook that said Brannan told them Robey bragged about raping his daughter and getting away with it. When juror Julie Gillespie testified about the conversation, she said that information came up after the jury had made a unanimous decision to convict Robey.

The Court of Appeals rejected Robey’s request for a retrial, finding the court was entitled to believe Gillespie’s testimony and did. They declined to reweight the evidence.

The judges also found he was not denied a fair trial based on the admission of statements by his daughter’s child services interviewer and her psychologist.  The DCS case managers comments were general in nature, and she did not directly comment on whether A.P.’s accusations against Robey were true in particular or whether A.P. was a truthful person in general, as allowed by Kindred v. State, 973 N.E.2d 1245 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012), Judge Cale Bradford wrote.

The judges only found one statement by the child’s counselor that constituted impermissible vouching, however, it was at most merely cumulative of her previous statements, both of which were elicited by Robey.

And even though Robey’s prior conviction for possession of a controlled substance can’t be used to support his habitual offender adjudication, he cannot challenge it on direct appeal based on Tumulty v. State, 666 N.E.2d 394 (Ind. 1996).  

“There is, quite simply, no room in Tumulty’s holding for any exceptions to the rule that you cannot challenge a habitual offender adjudication on direct appeal after pleading guilty. If Robey wishes to further challenge the factual basis underlying his admission to being a habitual offender, he will have to do so in a PCR petition,” Bradford wrote.

 

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  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

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  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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