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High court addresses Protected Person Statute

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Addressing for the first time under the current Rules of Evidence a case regarding a protected person testifying at trial as well as by videotape or other statement, the Indiana Supreme Court held that if the statements are consistent and both are otherwise admissible, testimony of a protected person can't be presented both in open court and in a pre-recorded statement through the Protected Person Statute.

In Brian Tyler v. State of Indiana, No. 69S04-0801-CR-3, the Supreme Court exercised its supervisory power to hold that a party can't introduce testimony via the Protected Person Statute if the same person testifies in open court as to the same matters.

Brian Tyler was convicted of two counts of Class A felony child molesting, two counts of Class C felony child molesting, and one count of Class D felony vicarious sexual gratification. All five child victims testified at trial and videotaped interviews of three of the children were admitted into evidence. Tyler appealed, arguing error under Indiana Rule of Evidence 403 or fundamental error in the admission of the children's taped interviews.

The majority believed admitting consistent statements through both pre-recorded media and by live testimony presents two problems aside from confrontation clause or hearsay issues. Admitting the live testimony and consistent videotape statements is cumulative evidence and can be unfairly prejudicial, wrote Justice Theodore Boehm, and if a child or protected person is mature and reliable enough to testify in live court, then using the Protected Person Statute is unnecessary.

Justice Boehm wrote the rules implemented by use of supervisory powers aren't applicable to proceedings conducted prior to publication. The majority agreed that the court didn't commit reversible error by admitting the videotaped statements. Justice Sullivan concurred in result with this holding in a separate opinion and respectfully suggested the status quo is superior to what was adopted by the Supreme Court today.

Under Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B), the majority revised Tyler's sentence, finding his 110-year prison sentence to be inappropriate. Instead of attaching the habitual offender enhancement to Tyler's Class A felony child molesting convictions, the majority attached it to his Class D felony vicarious sexual gratification conviction, resulting in a maximum enhancement of 4 ½ years instead of 30 years. The majority also concluded the enhancement of the consecutive sentences imposed for the Class A child molesting convictions above the advisory level wasn't warranted and remanded for the trial court to issue an amended sentencing order in accordance with the opinion without a hearing, leaving Tyler with a 67 ½ year sentence.

Justice Dickson dissented as to revising Tyler's sentence, writing the trial judge's evaluation and determination of the appropriate sentence doesn't warrant appellate intrusion.

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  1. The is an unsigned editorial masquerading as a news story. Almost everyone quoted was biased in favor of letting all illegal immigrants remain in the U.S. (Ignoring that Obama deported 3.5 million in 8 years). For some reason Obama enforcing part of the immigration laws was O.K. but Trump enforcing additional parts is terrible. I have listed to press conferences and explanations of the Homeland Security memos and I gather from them that less than 1 million will be targeted for deportation, the "dreamers" will be left alone and illegals arriving in the last two years -- especially those arriving very recently -- will be subject to deportation but after the criminals. This will not substantially affect the GDP negatively, especially as it will take place over a number of years. I personally think this is a rational approach to the illegal immigration problem. It may cause Congress to finally pass new immigration laws rationalizing the whole immigration situation.

  2. Mr. Straw, I hope you prevail in the fight. Please show us fellow American's that there is a way to fight the corrupted justice system and make them an example that you and others will not be treated unfairly. I hope you the best and good luck....

  3. @ President Snow - Nah, why try to fix something that ain't broken??? You do make an excellent point. I am sure some Mickey or Minnie Mouse will take Ruckers seat, I wonder how his retirement planning is coming along???

  4. Can someone please explain why Judge Barnes, Judge Mathias and Chief Judge Vaidik thought it was OK to re weigh the evidence blatantly knowing that by doing so was against the rules and went ahead and voted in favor of the father? I would love to ask them WHY??? I would also like to ask the three Supreme Justices why they thought it was OK too.

  5. How nice, on the day of my car accident on the way to work at the Indiana Supreme Court. Unlike the others, I did not steal any money or do ANYTHING unethical whatsoever. I am suing the Indiana Supreme Court and appealed the failure of the district court in SDIN to protect me. I am suing the federal judge because she failed to protect me and her abandonment of jurisdiction leaves her open to lawsuits because she stripped herself of immunity. I am a candidate for Indiana Supreme Court justice, and they imposed just enough sanction so that I am made ineligible. I am asking the 7th Circuit to remove all of them and appoint me as the new Chief Justice of Indiana. That's what they get for dishonoring my sacrifice and and violating the ADA in about 50 different ways.

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